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Light Up Durham

Staff Writer

Published: Friday, December 6, 2013

Updated: Friday, December 6, 2013 03:12

The Durham Business Association (DBA) presented the 18th Annual Light Up Durham contest Thursday evening from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The Light Up Durham contest brings holiday color to the Durham area by getting businesses and Greek houses to decorate for the holiday. The contest was open to all Durham businesses and recognized Greek houses to enter.  

For Durham businesses, FroyoWorld came in first place with a display that involved people dressed up as elves and wrapped in lights. They danced in the windows along with a living, decorated tree.

“We thought what could be creative, fun and using lighting in kind of a festive but different way so we brainstormed and we came up with that idea,” Lynn Caesar, co-owner of FroyoWorld, said.

“It’s a great community event, brings people out, makes them smile, you feel every body is participating, nice feel for this time of year,” Caesar said.  

The Candy Bar came in second with a display that included lit snowflakes and candy canes.

“This is so far the cutest I’ve seen,” Johanna Knight, DBA chair, said during the tour. Bella’s Casual Dining came in third with a display that included colored lights and bottles with white lights in them.

For the fraternities, Sigma Nu and Lambda Chi Alpha tied for first place. This is the first time, in the history of Light Up Durham, that there has been a tie for first place Knight said.  

Sigma Nu had Christmas carols filling the night air and bushes draped in color and lights spelling out their name. It took three to four days of solid work, which they started on Sunday, according to Sigma Nu brother Matt Higgs. Sigma Nu participated in order to be a part of the community, Higgs said.

Lambda Chi Alpha was draped in colored lights with stockings and candy canes decorating their porch. The house took two nights to decorate, as Chase Borden, former treasurer, said. This is the second year that Lambda Chi Alpha has been in this house and they wanted to contribute to the community, according to Borden.

Some brothers were out on the porch giving out hot chocolate and candy canes to the Light Up Durham judges. The hot chocolate was Christmas task force coordinator Nick Briscoe’s idea. “I figured it was just a small thing we could do to help the judges get along with their night,” Brisco said.  “It doesn’t take a whole lot out of us to give them a cup of hot chocolate when they are walking up and down the streets in the cold weather.”  

Alpha Sigma Phi came in second place. It had Christmas music wafting through the air, and their house and trees with brightly lit with light. Red lights danced on the wall of the house. According to the fraternity, its house took three days to decorate.

Alpha Chi Omega received first place for the sororities. Its house was decorated with bows and a wreath with Santa’s sleigh over the door. The fence and bushes were decorated with white lights with a light-up snowman on the lawn.

“Those bushes, they did them perfect,” Katie Muth, DBA director, said describing the lighting on Chi Omega’s bushes during the judging. 

A student apartment received a special award, the community spirit award, for their residence at 50 Madbury Lane. The student apartment, with Pooplex spelled out in lights on the bushes, had a multicolored display framing the house and windows. Last year the same students won the community spirit award when they lived at 2 Davis Court.  

The judges for the evening were MUB Assistant Director of Operations and DBA member Ken Barrows, DBA Director Katie Muth, DBA Chair Johanna Knight, UNH alumni Maisea Bailey and Chris Spencer, President of the Pan-Hellenic Council Colleen Kelty, and UNH Printing Services and Durham town resident Claire Powell.

Judging for the contest was based on several criteria: effectiveness of lights, placement and uniformity of lights, the use of color and design, special lit displays, ingenuity, originality, and creativity of the display. The DBA is a non-profit organization made up of businesses and professionals in the Durham area to bring together local government, residents and students in Durham.

The participation this year was around what the DBA expected, and only some businesses participated according to Knight.

“There was great community spirit, great creativity from the fraternities and sororities,” Knight said.

Some years the decorations are bold and other years have a more calming effect. This year, however, Knight said the decorations were more traditional.

“It’s always a very enjoyable evening walking through the town with the group,” Knight said.

The weather held out with just a little drizzle. The DBA looks forward to doing Light Up Durham again next year and thanks everyone who participated this year Knight said.

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