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Text and photos by Richard Taylor
Early in December each year, the island comes alive with color.
It’s not one last flash of lingering autumn hue, but rather the annual “Island Celebration” holiday “Twinkle and Lights” decorating contest, sponsored by the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association.
Throughout the village, colorful holiday lights adorn roofs and ridge lines, all sorts of trees along with yard ornaments. Some displays are animated.
On Sunday night, OCBA Executive Director Helena Stephens and judges drove around looking for surprises. Judging was delayed one day due to rain.
“The effort and creativity put forth by islanders to create beautiful holiday lights displays never ceases to amaze and delight us,” Stephens said. “It’s a challenge for judges to choose just one for each category.”
Best in Show went to “Miss Ruby’s House” at 187 Lighthouse Road, colorfully decked out with lights, candy canes and an inflatable Santa Claus by residents Eduardo Chavez and Karen Rhodes.
This was Chavez’s second straight year winning a top prize as he won Business Best in Show for decorating his Eduardo’s Tacos stand last year.
“Many of the neighbors had lights,” Chavez said from his business Wednesday afternoon. “We just wanted to bring a little more light to Lighthouse Road. I was so happy to see Ocracoke with so many lights this year, and I was glad we won.”
Collectively, homes on Lighthouse Road and neighboring Cedar Road had more decorations than any other area of the central village.
Most Original went to “Old Blue Chevy” by Jimmy and Linda Jackson of Cedar Lane off Back Road.
Retired two years from Jimmy’s Garage, Jackson said he had a lot of fun decorating his old 1939 Chevrolet, which he still drives occasionally.
In this first year of decorating his yard, Jackson said he used 12 boxes of blue lights on it and about eight boxes of clear ones and used a half a roll of duct tape for the display.
“It’s not going to be a lot of fun taking it back apart, but I’ll get it,” he chuckled
He put the blue lights on it first, then, decided to do the wheels with clear lights.
He and his wife, Linda, worked on the display for several hours over three or four days.
“I couldn’t have done it by myself,” Jackson said. “I had a lot of help from her.”
The old blue car goes to bed before 9 p.m. each night, so don’t wait too late in the evening to see it.
The Most Traditional award went to Dave Frum and Karen Lovejoy of 42 Sarah Ellen Lane. Dozens of white lights adorned all the ridges, eaves and rooflines of their home off Silver Lake Drive.
Best Theme went to Bobby and Allison O’Neal of O’Neal Lane in Oyster Creek for their colorful lighting and inflatable characters covering a wide expanse of their yard. The O’Neals won Best in Show last year.
Best Business went to George and Betty Chamberlin of Captain’s Landing on Irvin Garrish Hwy. There, white net lights covered the shrubs in front of the hotel while white lights wrapped around fence rails, balconies and the Captain’s Cargo Gift Shop added to the festive look.
“That big wreath in the middle made a difference,” Chamberlin said whimsically. “It’s almost startling when you see the size of that ornament,” he said, referring to the large lighted wreath hanging over the first-floor breezeway at the hotel’s guest entrance.
Betty praised maintenance manager Javier Rivera for making their business look good.
“I thought he did a great job putting it all together,” she said. “We just provide the material and gave him general direction. He always comes up with something nice. We actually give the credit to him.”
“We hope that everybody is well in the village and that they have a great Christmas and a great holiday,” George added. “And we hope next year that we have tougher competition.”
Honorable mentions went to Trudy Austin, 325 Lighthouse Rd. and to Sue and Vince O’Neal, 135 Cedar Rd.
Judges were Phil and Terri Faison of Camden, Helen Waldrop of Kinnelon, New Jersey, and Nancy Aldridge of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
Stephens especially thanked Ocracoke Island Golf Carts for supplying transportation during the judging.
Editor’s note: The Parade of Boats event on Nov. 24 featured three decorated boats in Silver Lake Harbor.