FRYEBURG, Maine — “Given this year, I think we could all use a little holiday cheer, something uplifting in our community,” said Fryeburg Rec Director Rick Buzzell on Friday as he unveiled plans for a first-ever Christmas yard decorating contest in the town. Residents and business owners are encouraged to get into the spirit of the holidays by decorating their homes or businesses.
“I thought it would be fun to try something a little different,” Buzzell told the Sun. “We’ll have two divisions, one for regular households and the other for businesses.”
Buzzell said Michael Alimi of Ameriprise Financial Services LLC has stepped up to offer prizes to the top three households. First prize is a $150 gift certificate to Hannaford; second is a $100 gift certificate to Walmart; and third place gets a $50 gift card to Home Depot.
In addition, the Fryeburg Business Association stepped up to sponsor the business category in this year’s contest with a prize of $100 cash going to the winning business.
Buzzell said the contest is free to enter. All you have to do is contact either his office (207-935-3933) or Fryeburg Town Hall at (207) 935-2805. The deadline for all entries is Friday, Dec. 4.
“It’s going to be a nighttime contest,” said Buzzell. “We plan to go out judging on the evening of Dec. 11. We’ll drive around and take pictures of the entries and then announce the winners.”
He added: “It would be neat if we had 20-25 households and businesses participate. I wouldn’t mind driving around all night on Dec. 11 because that would mean a lot of people got into the holiday spirit — the more the better. I know it’s been a rough year, but this can be something fun, and something the whole community can participate in and enjoy.”
Meanwhile, Buzzell said the town will continue with its longstanding tradition of the annual Christmas tree lighting in Bradley Park in Fryeburg Village. It is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m.
“It’s going to be different, but it’s going to happen,” he said. “We’ve made some changes. Masks will be mandatory, and so will social distancing. We need to keep people spread out as best as possible.”
Buzzell said members of the Fryeburg Academy chorus plan to attend and lead the community in Christmas carols.
“We’re expecting 15 members of the chorus, and they all need to be socially distanced 14 feet apart,” he said.
Santa Claus will be on hand and wearing his mask.
“There will be no refreshments this year or Santa handing out candy canes and no sitting on Santa’s lap,” said Buzzell. "We may have Santa in a sled with plexiglass set up so people can still take photos. As I said, it’s going to be different, but we can make it work.”