Panorama home-decorating winners chosen
Anne and Barry Belsey of Simcoe are this year’s winners of the Panorama Christmas home-decorating contest. Anne says her family decorates their Tyrell Street home every year because it looks beautiful and people love it. Monte Sonnenberg/Simcoe Reformer
Residents of select neighbourhoods in Norfolk County can look forward to increased traffic now that winners have been chosen in this year’s Christmas Panorama home-decorating contest.
First-prize goes to Barry and Anne Belsey of Simcoe, previous winners who are known for pulling out all the stops at their home at 48 Tyrell St.
“We get a fair amount of feedback even before we light it up,” Anne Belsey said. “People drop by while we’re setting up and say, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see it.’ We like doing it for all the nursing homes that drive by with their residents so they can look at it.”
The second-prize winners this year are relatively new to the home-decorating game. They are Eric and Jen Long of 2 Galinee Trail in Port Dover.
The Longs decided to go all-in a couple years ago when a neighbour put on a spectacular light show.
The Longs noticed how their children, Noah and Macy, would sit at the window and stare across the way. That convinced them to bring some of that Christmas magic a little closer to their front door. The kids like it and so did Panorama’s panel of judges.
“We’re just trying to keep up with the neighbours,” Eric Long said. “The kids love it and the community seems to love it, too.”
Third place this year goes to Carrie Holbrook of 1 Albert St. in Langton.
Holbrook hails from a family with a long history of decorating for Christmas – a tradition started by her late mother, Bonnie McKillen, more than 50 years ago.
“My mother always used to do it,” Holbrook said. “She was one of the first to start doing it.”
There are 39 homes on the Panorama Christmas homes tour this year. Twenty entered this year’s competition. The judging panel consisted of Peter Schira, Annette Schira, Rick Lemieux, Joyce Coates and Helen Smith, all of Waterford.
On Friday, Peter Schira applauded the effort put forth by the entrants. He said the Belseys’ display is especially impressive.
“Wait till you see it at night,” he said. “It’ll blow your mind. Everybody involved puts so much effort into this.”
The top three finishers this year received good seats to upcoming live performances at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford. Shows on the bill include The Underwater Bubble Show and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.