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Ocracoke lights up for the holidays

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Text and photos by Connie Leinbach

Every December, the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association hosts a Christmas lights contest called “Island Celebration.”

Teresa O’Neal, owner of the Island Ragpicker, organizes it and then drafts a few unsuspecting off-islanders to be judges while she and her husband, Albert, drive around to all of the displays at night.

She noted that there weren’t as many displays around the island as in the last few years.

She also had difficulty finding vacationers and instead recruited Caroline Temple, and Ocracoke School fifth-grader, and Iris McClain, a sixth grader.

The results on Dec. 13 were arrived at a bit differently from what usually happens.

“The kids were just so great,” O’Neal said. “They didn’t over analyze the way adults do.  They just went, ‘That’s so pretty.'”

And so easily made their choices.

Herewith are the winners of this year’s contest for which winners receive the glory of a sign proclaiming their honor.

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The Ritchie home, across from the Post Office, won Best of Show for residences.

David and Melinda Esham's home in Oyster Creek won for best theme.

David and Melinda Esham’s home in Oyster Creek won for best theme. The lights along the porch spell “Merry Christmas to You,” and the lights behind the Santa spell “Ho, Ho, Ho.”

A side view of the home of Ronnie Vann and Martha O'Neal on Back Road took the Most Original honor.

A side view of the home of Ronnie Vann and Martha O’Neal on Back Road took the Most Original honor.

The Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Departments light display won Best of show for businesses.

The Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Departments light display won Best of show for businesses.

Puddles along Loop Road capture reflections at the home of Wade Austin, Most Traditional winner.

Puddles along Loop Road capture reflections at the home of Wade Austin, Most Traditional winner.

Below is a sampling of other holiday displays around the island.

Though it wasnt a winner, the home of Clifton Garrish and Janie Garrish is adorned with Cliftons hand-made wood decorations.

The home of Clifton Garrish and Janie Garrish is adorned with Clifton’s hand-made wood decorations.

The display at the home of David ONeal on Lighthouse Road can be viewed during the daylight.

The display at the home of David O’Neal on Lighthouse Road can be viewed during the daylight.

A rental home along Lighthouse Road has a day and a nighttime look.

A rental home along Lighthouse Road has a day and a nighttime look.