Look around at the stores in the area and you'll see the decorations for Christmas going up. Homeowners are also digging from their storage units and sheds pulling out holiday decorations for the outside of their homes.
And not too early either.
The Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce announced today that it is holding its Fourth Annual House Christmas Decorations Contest. They started the gala contest four years ago and since then more and more homes in Lehigh Acres are being decorated outside with all types of items from lights and glitter to religious decorations to almost anything.
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Last year’s winning Christmas decorated home was at 617 Shadyside St. The homeowners were Sal and Elaine Smith.
The Greater Lehigh Acres Chamber of Commerce has brought about the tradition which is bringing people in Lehigh together to vie for the top prizes and also giving the opportunity for everyone to ride around and see the winners' homes and all the other great decorated homes.
Inke Baker, president and executive director of the chamber, said she and the chamber wanted to get the announcement out early so everyone who plans to decorate can get started.
"It's time and time is passing fast. We're almost at Thanksgiving and now is the time to get outdoors in this great Florida weather and pretty up the house and yards for the holidays," Baker said.
Several judges will ride-by the nominated homes on Dec. 12 and judge them the next day so the addresses can be published in The Citizen and at lehighacrescitizen.com.
"This gives everyone the opportunity to see how beautiful Lehigh becomes during the Christmas holidays," Baker said.
Sponsoring the holiday decorations contest along with the chamber is the Fun Biz Charter Bus Service of Lehigh, which provides the transportation for the judges, along with warm chocolate and finger foods for them to enjoy on the ride.
Out-of-towners in the past have even said that Lehigh probably has more decorated homes for the holidays as any other community in Lee County. That alone brings visitors to Lehigh during the last several days before Christmas Day.
To win a prize, and there are several this year, Baker says anyone in Lehigh can nominate a home that he or she thinks deserves a prize. Homeowners themselves are encouraged to enter their home addresses. Encourage neighbors to decorate and nominate them, Baker said.
"It's all a lot of fun for everyone in Lehigh. At Christmas Lehigh shines up all over," she laughed.
Send your nominations via email to Baker at: Inkebaker@lehighchamber.org. Be sure to list the address of the house and if it is outside the core of the community, give directions as how to locate the house.
You can even stop by the chamber office at the Lehigh Towne Centre on the corner of Homestead and Alabama roads and submit your entries.
Prizes for winners this year include gift certificates, a free tax return preparation by Robert Bowers, Accountant; a gift certificate for a massage from Healing Hands and a round of golf for four at Mirror Lakes Golf Club.
If you are the owner of a business or an individual who would like to donate a prize for the cause, give Baker a call at 369-3322.
She reminded residents in Lehigh that the winning houses don't always have to have millions of lights and tons of items in the yard to win.
"Think of your theme, the lights and the items in the yard, it all goes for the beauty and originality of the decorations," she said.
"Then after the winners have been announced and the list of beautifully decorated homes has been published, it can be a great family outing. A night out and perhaps a snack somewhere," she said.
"I like to say 'Let Lehigh Sparkle,' and the more the merrier," Baker said.
The chamber contest has become recognized as the official holiday home decorating contest in Lehigh. Baker thanked those who are participating during the holiday season, the people who are giving prizes and the people who are taking the time out of their lives to decorate their yards.