An illuminating contest: ‘Yule’ not regret it

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Against my better judgment, I announce nominations are now open for the best contest ever held by this newspaper.

Bigger than cute-baby competitions.

Bigger than the Garden Game of old.

For unexplained reasons, other than I believe in self-imposed heartache, I have appointed myself judge for the first (and hopefully, the last) “Yule Light Up My Life “ holiday display contest.

If you think your or your neighbor’s Christmas light displays — or magnificently decorated yards you have passed — are worthy of consideration as among the top 10 in this area, please nominate them.

I will accept nominations by email (, fax (704-639-0003), regular mail (P.O. Box 4639, Salisbury, NC 28145) or Facebook (Mark Wineka, message me).

I ask that you don’t call me with nominations — I keep that phone line open for calls from the mayor, governor and president.

With your nomination, include (if possible) the home’s address, maybe a brief description of the display and directions on how to get there. You can nominate your own place.

And the same location can be nominated more than once by different people — so don’t worry about that. In fact, multiple nominations might indicate it is a good one.

The deadline is Dec. 12, because I need time to investigate personally each nomination. But enter as soon as possible.

With “Yule Light Up My Life,” I’m looking to create a list of the Top 10 places to see the lights and decorations of Christmas in Rowan County.

If needed, I will fudge a bit and include places beyond the Rowan County line into Kannapolis, Davie County and Stanly County, but again, they have to be awe-inspiring and worth the trip.

I hope to publish a list and map of the 10 best Dec. 16. My goal: to have a jaw-dropping list good enough to gather up the kids and relatives, push them into the car and take off on a nighttime adventure.

You could even make hot chocolate to pass around in a Thermos as you travel.

The rules are simple:
1) I am judge.

2) The judge is always right.
3) The judge’s decisions are final.

4) The judge is open to bribes.

I was kidding on that last one. But when in doubt about the rules, refer to No. 2.

Yule Light Up My Life is a shameless way to create a couple of stories for me and maybe some cheap entertainment for you. On the weekend of Dec. 15-16, we’ll publish the Yule Light Up My Life Top 10, with directions on how to see these places from the road.

A couple of days later, I intend to announce an overall winner, and the grand prize, if the owners are willing, will be a story behind the decorations at that particular site.

I must be blunt here. The decorations nominated should be pretty spectacular, not just lights on a couple of bushes in the front yard.

I’ll be impressed with things such as moving parts, music, cleverness, tackiness, beauty, brilliance, traditional or modern decorations and overall light pollution.

A good barometer is to ask yourself, are the lights and decorations worthy enough to make a special trip to see them?

Thanks for your help in submitting nominations, and good luck to everyone.

If Yule Light Up My Life turns out to be a fiasco of major proportions, I will blame President Obama and a do-nothing Congress.

Yule see.
Contact Mark Wineka at