BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Santas and stars and reindeer, oh my!
This year’s overall winner of the holiday lights and decoration contest sponsored by The Tattoo and The Bristol Press is the brilliantly lit up little home of Wellman and Lorna Minor at 10 Arrowhead Dr.
The retired pair’s yard displays several glowing Santas, angels and reindeer. Their shrubbery dances with twinkling colored lights across from a blinking fence. Stars shoot past their door. Candy cane and kaleidoscope pattern lights brighten the walkway.
Even the window wishes everyone a “Merry Christmas” courtesy of a shining sign. And who can forget the manger scene, with the three best Wise Men around.
The Minors said they’ve decorated their house as a sort of holiday hobby for about five years.
“It’s an enjoyment,” said Wellman Minor. “We love it so much. Christmas is our favorite holiday.”
“It’s fun,” Lorna Minor chimed in.
Thanks to the many home and business owners — and admiring neighbors — who entered, the contest generated more than 100 toys for the Bristol Community Organization to distribute to needy children in the community. Many of the entries came from friends and neighbors of those who actually created the displays.
Local high school students who write for The Tattoo — the student page published by The Bristol Press — made the call on which decorations met the Christmas cheer quotient.
Tattoo staffers studied every bulb, bow, and bell in plain sight. In the process they found a plethora of icicle lights, a few giant snowmen, and more than a dozen special locations that will knock Santa right out of your chimney.
Those addresses are listed below.
After every candy cane had been counted, the teens made a unanimous decision in favor of the Minor’s wonderful display.
Lorna Minor said their holiday masterpiece is bound to get even larger. She said that she and her husband drive around to see how other people are decorating. They already have ideas for next Christmas.
“We want to add a big church next year,” said Wellman Minor. “We’re just going to keep adding.”
Every Tattoo judge who viewed their house came up with a different thing he liked. With so many things to pick from, the Minors can’t choose any particular decoration they enjoy the most.
“We just love them all,” said Wellman Minor.
The Tattoo judges agreed.
But don’t take their word for it. Grab your warm jacket and your kids and check out every merry detail of their festive abode. You better hurry because the Minors said that people have been lining up around their block to get a close look at the display.
While you’re at it, swing past these places the Tattoo judges felt were also worthy of a little holiday praise:
Who House — 198 Lillian Rd. — Cindy-Lou Who, from Dr. Seuss’s Who-ville, could live here happily. Cozy and covered with multi-colored lights, Cindy-Lou Who would be proud to make this her home in the Grinch’s world.
Best Flying Reindeer — 15 Bentley Rd. — “What about gravity?” asked one of our slack-jawed judges as he looked in awe at this over-sized Santa, sleigh and reindeer team-flying through the sky.
Electric Frost House — 104 Curtiss St. — They bought out every icicle light in town, or nearly so, to festoon their house with the latest fad in outdoor holiday shine. They also have a nifty flying Santa and team. There’s a pretty good house across the street that’s worth noting as well.
The ‘Martha Stewart’ House — 169 High St. –Tastefully done old home on Federal Hill.
‘Get Yourself to Funky Town’ Trees — 193 West Washington St. — Disco fever meets Christmas Eve. Even Santa’s gotta boogie oogie oogie there.
Best Grazing Herd — 19 Kingswood Dr. — A whole team of white-lighted reindeer graze the lawn.
Cutest Little Lighthouse — 86 Burnside Dr. — They’ve got a little lighthouse, properly decorated for the holidays. Santa checked his list and knows that they’ve been nautical, and also nice. But lighthouse buffs should check out as well:
Best Backyard Lighthouse — 183 Gridley St. — Looming high above a much-decorated backyard is a large lighthouse that shines with holiday cheer.
Best Angel — 301 East Road — A little bit of heaven, also a clever use of an evergreen spray decorated with ice skates and more.
The Candy Cane House — 23 Mare Rd. — Plenty of white lights plus a dash of red, all in front of a backdrop of a pink door and pink shutters. The red reins on the white light reindeers was an especially nice touch.
The Wattage Award — 15 Abbey Lane — With a giant cross, moon, stars, a manger scene and much, much more, they’ve got it all, and a Connecticut Light and Power bill to prove it.
Best Living Christmas Tree — 560 Burlington Ave. — A big, fat tree that’s at least two stories tall, with a hefty star on top and a zillion or two old-fashioned, multi-colored lights. Plus, as an added bonus, they have a pulsing Santa and Rudolph on the roof.
Tallest Christmas Tree — 200 Central St. — With a commanding white tree made out of a flagpole out front, Ultimate Wireform’s whopping display can be seen across much of Forestville. It also has other little touches, including a parking space reserved for Santa, that show the company’s got Christmas spirit and not just dental wire.
Biggest Wreath — 563 Wolcott St. — This huge wreath formed by green and red lights will catch the eye as you travel up the hill towards Wolcott.
Best Star — 60 Ingraham Place — In addition to a swell star, they had a cut-out snowman family, a cut-out Santa and sleigh and a nice tree. An original effort.
Best Christmas Message — 91 Matthews St. — With three big shooting stars on the lawn and plenty of lights on the house, they’ve also got a gigantic “NOEL” shining out. Their neighbor’s house is also good.
Most Cooperative Effort — 123-125 High St. — Nice to see neighbors working together to showcase the season.
Best Shrubbery — St. Matthew Church — A great church display that’s gotten better than ever this year. It also has a nice manger scene.
Best Manger Scene — 85 Carpenter Road — A terrific manger scene that looks hand-made.
Best Pit Stop for Santa — Karl’s Mobil at the corner of Pine and Middle streets — Properly decorated for Christmas, this service station can fill Santa’s sleigh with cheer.
Oldie but Goodie — The winning house from two years ago, at 25 First St., is still terrific. It’s got a bit of everything in a display that’s been growing for more than two decades.
This year’s Tattoo judges were Joe Aparo, Monirak Chhun, Suzanne Gregorczyk, Amanda Lehmert, Leslie Marshall, Collin Seguin, Joe Wilbur, Hila Yosafi and Shaina Zura. Seguin and Lehmert, both award-winning reporters, are seniors at Bristol Central High School. This story first appeared in The Bristol (Conn.) Press.