Holiday Lights Contest to Brighten Community

Posted on October 1st, 2020 at 6:52 PM

Christmas Lights ContestFor more than 50 years, the Barber Christmas Ball has been a hallmark of Erie’s holiday season. Although the event will not be taking place, the Barber National Institute is sponsoring a new celebration to safely bring the community together to make the holidays brighter and more festive for everyone.

“Home for the Holidays” is a Christmas lighting contest that will be open to all homes and businesses in Erie County. The winners will be determined by online voting that will take place beginning Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020 – the original date for the Christmas Ball – through Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021.

With the cancellation of the Christmas Ball, the lighting contest will be a new holiday fundraiser for the Barber National Institute in 2020.

“The Christmas Ball has served as a major fundraiser in support of our mission for many years,” said John Barber, president and chief executive officer of the Barber National Institute. “We are facing the loss of this longtime event at the same time that we face new challenges brought on by the pandemic, including many unexpected expenses. We hope that the community, which has supported the Christmas Ball for so many years, will now also embrace this new adventure.”

Online registration opens the week of Oct. 5 at to sign up a home or business to participate in the contest. A minimum donation of $25 will register a private residence, and a $50 minimum donation will enter a business or organization location. All proceeds benefit services for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, autism or behavioral health challenges at the Barber National Institute.

The community will be encouraged to drive by participating homes and businesses and vote for their favorite displays. The top three homes and businesses will receive prizes.

In addition to serving as a fundraiser, organizers hope that the event spreads holiday cheer at a time when many traditional celebrations will not be possible.

“While we can’t all be physically together, we hope that this contest will brighten up neighborhoods and be an enjoyable activity for families to do together to celebrate the holidays,” said Barber.

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