In total, according to the Christmas Island Style Home Decor Selection Committee, 1,584 Marco Island homeowners decorated their homes for the holiday.
On Friday evening, the judges of the Marco Island home decorating competition boarded a bright yellow bus and toured “the best and the brightest” of these vacation homes, visiting the top ten finalists and selecting the grand winner. This year marked the 22nd year of the competition.
Owners did not have to fill out a form to enter the contest. The houses themselves were the entrances, impossible to miss as members of the judging panel fanned out across the island for a series of three nights before the final judgment, scouring every street and assessing every house with Christmas lights. Winners from the past five years aren’t eligible to repeat, but that hasn’t stopped these owners from continuing to create the “winning wonderlands” that earned them their coveted “winning” yard panel.
As the bus navigated the relatively narrow streets and made risky turns to negotiate bends in cul-de-sacs, a caravan of nearly 20 cars followed behind, filled with more people wanting to see the Christmas lighting at its maximum. For these homes, no detail has been left unlit, with nativity scenes, inflatable structures of all kinds, streaks of lights covering the roof, trees transformed into fireworks, and balloons, canes of candy, Santa and his sleigh on the roof, and lights stretching all the way to the street
As the judges’ bus stopped at each home, a committee member hopped out to deliver a plaque recognizing them as finalists. Some were “honored just to be nominated,” as Oscar nominees say, but the sentiment was not universal.
“I could line my walls with these ‘framed certificates,’ one homeowner noted. Many finalists repeat year after year, and it must be hard to be “always a bridesmaid…”
When the judges tallied their votes, they granted overall winner status to the home of Eric and Suzi Szczepanski at 513 Nassau Street. This was the last house visited, so it was a quick return to deliver the winner’s sign and warm congratulations.
If you want to visit the houses that have been designated as finalists, you will see the glow before you reach the house. follow the route drawn by the judges for the most efficient routing. This would take you to:
- 91 Bermuda
- 1453 Bermuda
- 151 Channel Court
- 1842 Dogwood
- 975 Leo Court
- 780 Cope Land
- 1591 Galleon
- 1264 White Heart
- 1208 Fruit Land
- 513 Nassau Street
- Previous winners illuminated, but not eligible this year, include:
- 1369 N. Necklace
- 865 Swan
- 161 Bermuda
- 1710 Winterberry