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Light the Cities campaign announces contest winners

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Dec 25, 2020

The Jefferson County Council on Aging was selected by Santa Claus as his top pick in the Ranson competition of Light the Cities. Toni Milbourne

RANSON — Liz Cook, Charles Town Now’s downtown coordinator and Emily Burlett, Ranson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau tourism specialist, took to the airwaves Monday to announce the recipients of top honors in the towns’ combined Light the Cities contest.

To spark holiday cheer at the end of a difficult year, the two towns had combined to encourage residents and business owners to illuminate the towns with Christmas lights. More than 130 homes and businesses participated in the event, the winners of which were voted on by local residents and announced via Facebook Live.

“The participants were just amazing,” Cook said. “There were so many beautiful homes.”

Winners were selected in a number of categories. The Ranson People’s Choice Awards were given to Tyler Payton (third place), whose home was No. 40 on the event map; Tom and Bonnie Custer (second place), whose home was No. 407; and Kelly Kehoe and Tommy Stephens (first place), whose home in Briar Run Estates was No. 41.

Additional Ranson winners included house No. 45, belonging to Sharon Fields, who won the Best Griswold; house No. 33, belonging to Kenny and Donna Alger, who won the Most Traditional category; and house No. 107, belonging to Wesley Wildrick, who won for Best Light Show.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus selected their favorites, along with the more than 300 individuals who voted online in the contest. Santa Claus selected Jefferson County Council on Aging, location No. 36 as his favorite in Ranson, while Mrs. Claus felt Ervin Jenkins, at house No. 24 rose to the top of the contestants.

Charles Town awarded the same honors in their town with People’s Choice Awards going for third place to Chanell Cain, with location No. 102; second place to Phil and Dana Larcomb, with house No. 53; and first place to Ronnie Fellers, at home No. 121 in Cloverdale. Most Traditional was bestowed upon House No. 191, owned by Jean Marie King; Best Griswold to Jake Bolen, homeowner of No. 122; and Best Light Show to Chad Cook, homeowner of No. 54.

Santa Claus selected house No. 63, owned by Mike Peacock, as his favorite, while Mrs. Claus decided house No. 60 on South George Street, owned by Laurie Barber, was her favorite.

According to Cook, the towns are planning to continue the competition next year, turning it into an annual tradition. They are seeking feedback on the this year’s event to improve things. Feedback forms are available on the Charles Town & Ranson Lights Facebook page.

“How was the map? How was voting? We would also look at a potential neighborhood challenge for next year,” Cook said, indicating some neighborhoods challenged each other this year on their own.

The light displays are still up for folks to enjoy and the list of numbered homes is on the Facebook page.