What a display!

HEAT announces Christmas light contest winners John and Debra Lee

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  • There are more than 450 'blowmolds' in the Lees' Christmas display.

  • From left, Debra and John Lee are seen here with JC Ringer, HEAT treasurer, Paul Zarrillo, HEAT Vice Chairman, and Tim Wagner, the group's chairman. The Lees received a $500 grand prize for their festive Christmas display, which received the most votes by the public in HEAT's 'Light Up West Milford' Christmas lighting contest.

Over $3,200 in Prizes!
40 Participating Businesses:
Sponsored in part by:
Jimmy Geez Sports Bar and Grill
MandB Septic/Noah's Ark Port-A-Jon: Up to 1,000 gallon Septic Tank Pumped or 1 Porta-Jon Rental (Valued at $450)
R. Young and Son Paving: $100 Donation
Forest Knoll Home Builders: 4 $50 Shell Gift Cards, 2 $25 Bed Bath and Beyond Gift Cards
The Depot: $25 Donation
Stegle's Hardware: Snow Shovel ($25 Value)
Up the Mountain Productions: $100 Donation
Sky Training, LLC: 1 Greenwood Lake Air Tour for Two People (Valued at $280)
Greenwood Lake Air Show: 2 Adult Tickets ($50 Value)
Passport Café: 4 $25 Gift Certificates
The Grasshopper: 2 $25 Gift Certificates
Landmarq Services: 1 Cord Split Firewood ($225 Value)
West Milford Pharmacy: $25 Gift Certificate
Bloesch and Bloesch Originals: 2 Decorated Quail Eggs ($44 Value)
Blini Restaurant: $25 Gift Certificate
Momento Restaurant: 10 $25 Gift Certificates
Macopin Pizza: 2 Pizzas ($25 Value)
Vreeland Store: $25 Gift Certificate
Town Cycle: 1 Bike Tune Up (Valued at $60)
Village Garage: 1 Oil Change Up to 5 Qts and one filter ($50 Value)
Awisco: 4 #20 Propane Refills (Valued at $75)
West Milford Automotive: New Jersey Motor Vehicle Inspection ($80 Value)
Pequannock Feed and Pet Supply: $25 Gift Certificate
TecHHoma: $100 Gift Certificate
Conservatives for the Highlands: $100 Donation
Valley View Pub: $50 Gift Certificate
The UPS Store: $30 Gift Certificate
Vivienne Erk: $100 Donation
Marilyn Lichtenberg: $100 Shoprite Gift Card
Breezy Point Inn: $50 Gift Card
Moosehead Marina: $40 Gift Card
Greenwood Lake Marina: $50 Gift Certificate
TJ's Pizza: 2 $25 Gift Certificates
York-Jersey Underwriters: $25 Donation
Q and S Deli: $25 Gift Card
Paul's Place: $25 Donation
Walgreens: 2 $25 Gift Cards
North Jersey Guitar and Music Center: $30 Gift Certificate
Flags and Silver: A Giants Flag ($25 Value)
Greenwood Lake Discount Liqours: $25 Gift Certificate

John and Debra Lee are the winners of the 2014 Christmas Lighting Contest, the first sponsored by the Highlands Economic Development and Tourism Corp. (HEAT). And they won $500 as the grand prize.

The group looked to foster a more festive atmosphere during the Christmas season, asking residents to nominate their favorite decorated house or light display. Residents would then vote on the group's facebook page for their favorite. The Lees were the top vote-getters.

The Lees' story

"Since my childhood, Christmas was always a magical time of year," said John Lee in a statement to HEAT. "I always loved decorating the house, both inside and out. I looked forward to going for car rides looking at Christmas lights and decorations throughout the neighborhood each winter. The decorations I liked most were always vintage 'blowmolds.'

"Approximately two years ago, I started to collect Christmas blowmolds and decorating my own yard," he continued. "I began doing a lot of research on blowmolds and began the hunt of finding them wherever I could. Each weekend, my family and I would go on road trips in search of more. My display has grown from approximately 40 blowmolds to currently 450. I enjoy most seeing the smiles the display brings to people's faces. The blowmolds date back to the 60s and seem to bring back memories for many of their childhood."

Setting up this massive display is quite an undertaking, though. Lee makes sure it's up and ready by the night after Thanksgiving.

"It brings such pleasure to see so many people stop and take pictures throughout the holiday season. Both my wife and I are so honored to have won the Christmas light contest hosted by Highland Economic and Development and Tourism Corporation for 2014," he said.

Thank you business community

HEAT members reached out to the business community to donate to the prize coffers.

“We started out with a simple desire to make West Milford more festive during the Christmas season,” said HEAT Chairman Tim Wagner. “Everyone loves Christmas decorations. They are so bright and cheerful, and help us celebrate the season of giving. They create a sense of belonging, of community.

“Still, we were surprised by the level of participation in this, the first year of our contest. Forty local businesses contributed prizes, consisting of cash, goods and services, with a total value of more than $3,200," Wagner said.

In all, 33 residences were entered and HEAT was able to give each a prize.

“We really want to thank each of the participating businesses. It is only through their willingness that our contest was such a success. In addition, of course, we want to congratulate each of the entrants for their great Christmas decorations," he added. "It wouldn’t have been much of a contest without all those lights, blinking noses, and manger scenes decorating our community."

For a full list of contributors, go to westmilfordmessenger.com.

To see all of the entered photos, go to www.NJHEAT.org.

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