The third annual Light It Up Innisfil event is more than Christmas lights, music and an inflatable Santa Claus.
It's about community, friendly competition, charity, and town pride.
Innisfil Coun. Jennifer Richardson started Light It Up Innisfil at the height of the pandemic when people had to socially distance themselves from one another. Now in its third year, more than 55 participants signed up and decorated their homes for the contest that ran until voting closed on the evening of Dec. 16.
"I love when people are messaging me saying that they're driving around checking out the houses. It's a nice family-time event to do together," said Richardson. "One couple that messaged said that it's their date night."
It's easy to spot the glow of Christmas lights that marks the spirit of the season, but the Google map created for the event made navigating from home to home simple.
"(It's a) great way to see your neighbourhood, see your neighbours, and just get to know the town of Innisfil, too, which is really fantastic," Richardson said.
Light It Up Innisfil was supported by local businesses, including Domino's Pizza in Innisfil. Domino's Pizza not only provided gifts to each winner but they organized a fundraiser aptly titled Raise the Dough. The initiative raised $200, which brought the total amount raised from the Light It Up Innisfil event to $1,202.80. The amount will be evenly split — $601.40 will be donated to each charity: Christmas 4 Kids (C4Kids) and the Innisfil Food Bank.
Richardson announced the winners and thanked all of the people and businesses that donated prizes to Light It Up Innisfil (which included Anne Kell and the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library, the Barrie Baycats, Second Draft Journals, Scentsy, Epicure, the Cove Cafe, The Fork and Plate, Granolala, Tim Hortons, Hotbox Huts, My Inner Wild Photography, and The Creative Cottage) via a post on the Connecting Innisfil Facebook group.
In a feat that would make Santa Claus and his reindeer proud, Richardson and her husband, Mike Richardson, delivered each of the prizes to the winners on Dec. 17, alongside dignitaries such as Barrie-Innisfil MP John Brassard, Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin, and Couns. Grace Constantine and Linda Zanella.
Winners of the 3rd annual Light It Up Innisfil event are:
MP John Brassard's favourite — 2972 Earl St.
MPP Andrea Khanjin's favourite — 236 Sunset Cres.
Mayor Lynn Dollin's favourite — 1938 Mill St.
Rotary Club of Innisfil's favourite — 1262 Shore Acres
Domino's Pizza (Innisfil)'s favourite — 2306 Jack Cres.
Ward 1 — 2246 Lynn St.
Ward 2 — 1064 Quarry Dr.
Ward 3 — 1042 Linden St.
Ward 4 — 2222 25th Sideroad
Ward 5 — 2234 25th Sideroad
Ward 6 — 3 Carmens Cove
Ward 7 — 2284 Carins Gate
Awarded Best Inflatable — 676 10th Line
Awarded Most Creative — 2142 Galloway St.
Awarded Best Lights — 2834 Shering Cres.
Awarded Fan Favourite — 1296 Gilford Rd.
Afterwards, Richardson and her family posted a live video on Facebook to announce the total amount raised and the winners of the door prizes, which included gift cards from Domino's Pizza, The Cove Cafe, Tim Hortons, Fork & Plate, a Godiva Chocolates gift set, and a Scentsy gift basket.
When asked if she would organize a fourth annual Light It Up Innisfil event next year, Richardson didn't hesitate to confirm that the tradition will continue.
"It's so much fun," she said. "As soon as the new year hits, we'll be gearing up to do Innisfull to help support the restaurants, because we have so many amazing local restaurants in town."
Check out the Connecting Innisfil Facebook group, as Innisfull will take place in February 2023.