Holiday decorating contests underway in Tarentum, Harrison

If the sight of early Christmas decorations has you feeling your inner-Clark Griswold, now’s the time to wrap the house in strands of lights and inflate the giant nylon Santas.

House-decorating contests are underway in Harrison and Tarentum, and judges will be seeking homes that ooze holiday cheer.

“Last year, a resident organized one in the 1st Ward and it was a rip-roaring success,” Harrison Commissioner Chuck Dizard said.

“That spontaneous initiative and creativity is what community is all about.”

The recreation board agreed to expand the contest to the township’s five neighborhoods.

There will be three winners in each neighborhood. Categories include Hallmark Movie (most traditional), Car Stopper (most original) and Griswold (most over the top).

Lights must be visible from the street. Judging will be 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 17.

“Judges will drive by and, just like Santa, you never know when they’ll be there,” Dizard said, adding that he hopes the contest will become an annual tradition.

Each ward has an Elf Captain to take field questions. Their emails are available on the township website.

Participants can enter at harrisontwp.com. Deadline is Dec. 16.

Carrie Fox, president of the Tarentum recreation board, also is hyped for the borough’s holiday lights to start popping up.

“It is such an exciting time of year and this is a great way for families to get together to have some fun,” she said.

Tarentum already has a contest for business owners to show off their storefronts. This year, Fox said, the borough decided to extend it to residents in order to boost excitement after nearly two years of covid-related guidelines that halted typical celebrations.

Three top winners will be named in the business district and in the residential areas. Categories include Car Stopper, Most Traditional and Most Colorful.

Participants can submit a photo, along with their name and phone number, by email to [email protected]

The deadline is Dec. 16 and winners will be announced on Dec. 18.

Along with bragging rights, winners in each town will receive a lawn sign to recognize their achievement and a special gift. Winners’ names will be posted on the municipal websites.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 724-226-7726, [email protected] or via Twitter .