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Inaugural Weston decorating contest hopes to get residents in the holiday spirit


The Weston News

Weston city officials hope to illuminate Lewis County throughout December during the inaugural Home Holiday Decorating Contest.

Lighted snowflakes with different designs are strung as if they falling along Main Avenue in Weston.
(Weston News photo by Jonathan Weaver)

Weston parking enforcement officer Malissa Henline brainstormed the idea with city building inspector Bryan Reed and hopes to make the contest an annual event.

“We talked about it before Halloween, actually. It’s been a month or so,” Henline said. “We enjoy the holiday lights and to decorate. And we have families and like to drive around at night and look at the lights during the holidays.”

“Last year, we noticed there wasn’t a whole lot of decorating, so we’re trying to get more people in the holiday spirit,” Reed added.

Henline, of Weston, decorates with traditional lights but also with a laser light system to spotlight images on her house. Reed rotates his multi-colored light displays annually.

“We go just about anywhere we know there will be some pretty ones,” Henline said. “We like all kinds of Christmas decorations.”

Lewis County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sherry Rogers said there is no cost for Weston residents to participate in the decorating contest.

“Judging will be Dec. 15 and 16 from 6-9 p.m., because of course we want the lights to be lit when the judges can see them,” Rogers said. “We want people away from here to judge.”

While WVU Jackson’s Mill, the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum and Stonewall Resort have already decorated, Rogers said the contest will also give locals or tourists the opportunity to visit not only local points of interest but also increase their stay with more light displays.

“We just thought it might be fun to involve everyone in the idea,” Rogers said. “It’s a very nice community project. I’m looking forward to this because I think it will be a nice activity for families to drive around or walk around their neighborhoods and enjoy the Christmas lights. Weston and Jane Lew both have lovely holiday displays.”

Rogers, who lives in Weston, also decorates — but more inside her home.

“I do candles in the windows and a wreath and a sled to decorate my building, but it’s a very old home and I’m limited on receptacles outside,” Rogers said. “I’m restoring it and haven’t gotten that far yet.”

Mayor Julia Spelsberg decorates the front of her house with her lights on the bannisters, wreaths on the front porch and an inflatable Christmas moose.

“Probably 30 years ago, we had a downtown Christmas store, and there was one year when they encouraged everyone to put lights in their windows,” Spelsberg said. “That was a really nice way to get everybody on board. I feel like going down and buying a bunch of little lights for in the windows. I always thought that was sweet.”

The first 20 families who register for the contest will receive a 5-by-7 photo of their home lit up.

Henline hopes to have a lot of participation in the contest. She has received phone calls of interested residents.

“Years ago, a lot of the people in Weston were interested in decorating,” Henline said. “I hope they can get back into it.”

Applications are available at and can be submitted through 4 p.m. Dec. 13 at the Weston city offices, 102 West Second St. More information about the contest can be answered by calling Henline or Reed at 304-269-6141.

Winners will be announced Dec. 19.

West Virginia American Art Glass artist Scott Meyer is designing handmade glass trophies for first, second and third place winners. He hasn’t solidified a design, but said it will be “definitely unique.”

A People’s Choice award is being considered for those who submit their name, address and photo of their exterior illumination to City Manager Kristin Droppleman at [email protected]. Photos would be posted via social media to receive ‘likes.’ Only those that live in the city limits will be considered.

Staff Writer Jonathan Weaver can be reached at (304) 626-1446 or [email protected]. Follow me on Twitter @jweaver_theet

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