BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — It’s the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Don’t enter it in the dark.
The annual holiday decorations contest, sponsored by The Tattoo, a teen page which appears in The Bristol Press, is getting underway.
The contest, a tradition since 1995, is a way to collect toys for needy children while giving residents a chance to test Bristol’s power supply.
Any local resident, business, place of worship, school, agency or organization may enter.
No display is too insignificant. The Tattoo’s teen judges are looking for creativity, uniqueness and holiday spirit, although they still appreciate the basic designs.
“I like simple, classic displays. Nothing tacky,” said Natalie Minor, a Tattoo judge.
Mike Nguyen, another judge, said, “Putting up lights on some trees isn’t going to impress me. You got to have some creativity and theme to it.”
Amanda Lehmert, a veteran Tattoo judge, said, “We tend to honor those people who really go out of their way to be weird or different. Tacky, even. We don’t just let people get off with putting up a few icicle lights. It’s all about spirit. Be inventive.”
To enter, simply bring a new, unwrapped toy or book to The Bristol Press, located at 99 Main St. Then fill out a simple form at the main desk with basic information about the site.
It’s okay to enter a neighbor, a friend or a stunning display put up by a stranger. Just be sure to get the address. And, please, help out by printing clearly.
And hurry. The deadline is 5 p.m., Dec. 17.
There will be a variety of winners, in a number of categories that change yearly to accommodate what the judges see. A list of all the winners will be published in The Bristol Press before Christmas, along with a photograph of the best display.
Every toy and book collected will be given to the Bristol Community Organization.
The toys and books will be given by BCO as gifts to children whose parents can’t afford presents this holiday season.
Do not wrap the toys or books since volunteers will need to know what it is to determine where it should go.
“We will be distributing toys to needy families this Christmas,” said Tom Morrow, BCO director.
Morrow said the organization “certainly appreciates the Press’ gesture of contributing toys” to the annual drive.
Good luck — and now go dust off that giant plastic Santa!
Sarah Jordan and Hila Yosafi are Reporters for Youth Journalism International.