DERRY — Residents will have a chance to show off their best outdoor holiday designs as the town hosts a "Decorate Derry" event this holiday season.

Derry Parks and Recreation is leading the charge to give people the opportunity to participate in a home decorating contest.

Town Councilor Jim Morgan had brought the idea forward at a past meeting, saying having a contest to spotlight holiday decor would bring some joy to the community during the ongoing pandemic.

Parks and Recreation Director Kim Walsh told councilors at a recent meeting that residents can begin decorating their homes and landscapes and then submit photos to be placed on the town's Facebook pages after the Dec. 6 deadline.

Then people can go onto the social media pages and "Like" the photos. Photos with the most positive likes will be crowned top decorating champion and prizes will be awarded.

People can also drive around neighborhoods and view the decor,  Walsh said.

"Like when we were kids," she said. "Driving around neighborhoods and looking at the lights."

There will be three top winners, Walsh said, adding judging will take place Dec. 7 through Dec. 18. Prizes for top decorating honors will be $500, $300 and $200 for the top three and prizes will be gift cards to local businesses.

"This will be a great way to help local businesses," Walsh added.

Morgan added it is important to get the word out so people can get involved in the contest.

"It's to get people excited," he said, "and give people time to get out and take a look."

Councilor Neil Wetherbee said it's time to offer some positive feelings for the community as the holidays approach.

"Keep it fun," he said. "I decorate, I'm like the Christmas elf at the dead-end road. Be the Christmas elf in your neighborhood."

Walsh said the contest will bring a lot of community spirit and she urged a lot of participation. Even neighborhoods could have some "friendly competition."

"We are trying to make as many people happy as possible," she said. "Let's just try and do it as big as we can and make it a lot of fun."

Officials added that Derry's local cable television channel will also highlight decor along the way.

Derry's downtown lights and tree will be officially lit up on Nov. 28. That day also includes raffles to support downtown businesses, the "stationary" holiday parade at Pinkerton Academy and a Very Derry schedule of events, all done with safety guidelines in place. Those wanting to participate in the Very Derry activities must pre-register.

Call Derry Parks and Recreation for more information on the decorating contest or other holiday happenings at 603-432-6136.

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