Williston lights the way

By Jason Starr

Observer staff

Holiday decorating takes on a competitive spirit this season with the Williston Recreation and Parks Department’s inaugural Holiday Decorating Contest.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to register their outdoor lighting and holiday decoration displays for drive-by judging by a panel of Parks and Recreation Committee members. Winners will receive prizes donated by contest sponsors Polli Properties, Williston Coffee Shop, Vermont Meat & Seafood, Williston Healthy Living Market and Hannaford.

There are three residential categories: traditional/refined, fun/festive and multi-family housing. The business displays will be voted on by residents for a “people’s choice” award.

Recreation and Parks Director Todd Goodwin said the contest is similar to those conducted in neighboring towns and is a way to promote community spirit during a holiday season where typical togetherness will be hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. The idea was sparked by a citizen suggestion, he said. 

The registration deadline for homeowners and businesses wishing to participate is Sunday (register at The formal judging period will be Dec. 11-14, and winners will be announced Dec. 17. So far about 30 homes have registered, Goodwin said, located mostly in the Williston Village and Taft Corners areas. The addresses of the homes will be published at, and residents are encouraged to view the competing displays.

The contest dovetails with a state initiative announced last Friday dubbed “Vermont Lights the Way.” Gov. Phil Scott is asking residents to decorate their homes and businesses to boost morale through the pandemic-restricted holiday season. 

“I know how hard this pandemic has been, especially as we make our way through the holidays without the normal get-togethers and sense of closeness we all want,” Scott said. “So, in celebration of the coming holiday season, I think it’s time to lift our spirits. Let’s get creative and show the world that Vermonters are here for each other and that even through these dark and difficult times, Vermont lights the way.”  

The “Vermont Lights the Way” name can be used as a social media hashtag to share displays.

“I hope this effort will spread joy and hope, especially for our kids,” Scott added. “We can make a holiday season during a once-in-a-century pandemic truly memorable for our kids in a fun and positive way. Together, we can celebrate this season and remind each other that there are brighter days ahead.”