The winners of the St. Clair Christmas Lights Contest will have bragging rights until the contest starts again in December.

The city of St. Clair took an extra step to brighten the town this past holiday season with a new Christmas light decoration contest that took place Dec. 1-15. The contest was open to residents and businesses.

Community members could nominate themselves, a business and/or a resident for the contest, which was free to enter. Ten nominations were submitted, according to City Inspector Mike Bursey. One residence and one business was chosen as the winners of the 2019 contest.

The residence winner was the Blankenship family home located in Youngland Hills. The family received $380 worth of gift certificates from St. Clair businesses.

The family’s display included inflatable Christmas decorations, lights on the house, trees and around the yard. An animated light show with holiday music also was featured.

It took homeowner Matt Blankenship approximately two days to set up the display, according to Bursey. Matt’s wife Rebecca fine-tuned the layout and design, and their three children helped when needed.

“The Blankenship family has inspired others in the neighborhood to decorate for the community,” said Kim Miller, city building assistant. “Many families walking and driving by in cars enjoyed the lighting display.”

The business winner was Sophisticuts, located on Main Street. The elves, painted by St. Clair High School students, reflected the operation by standing on the shoulders of another elf while trimming Santa’s hair.

White lights adorned the whole salon, and lights and garland were wrapped around the entrance poles. Inside, customers could view a decorated Christmas tree.

Sophisticuts will keep a “Bragging Rights” trophy until Christmas 2020, according to Bursey. He said the 2019 contest was a success.

“The more years that we do this, more people will get involved,” Bursey said. “It was a good thing to see the community and businesses get involved with decorating their shops and homes.”

Two goals for next year are to increase participation and to extend the length of time for the contest, he added.

“We had a lot of good comments from the citizens of St. Clair,” Bursey said.

The judging committee, which will change from year to year, is made up of two community members and two business owners. Bursey said interested volunteers can contact him at 636-629-0333.

He thanked the volunteers who helped with the 2019 contest, as well as Lane Iron Works and Williams Electric which donated equipment.

City Participation

A total of 47 floats participated in the annual St. Clair Lighted Christmas Parade held Saturday, Dec. 14, according to city officials.

“The lighted parade, again this year, was a huge success,” Miller said. “Despite the cold temperatures, the streets were still packed with observers.”

A Main Street Event was held before the parade where businesses hosted family-friendly activities including arts and crafts, games, music, refreshments and more. After the parade, children had the opportunity to meet and greet with Santa Claus.

In November, city hall volunteers decorated the downtown district.

“The city workers wanted to decorate for the community to continue the efforts to build a stronger community and to continue the recognition of our veterans,” Bursey said. 

Miller added that although “the hometown Christmas season in St. Clair has come to a close, the spirit of Christmas remains vibrant and growing. 

“Our community looks to the future with eyes full of hope and plans for a bigger, heartwarming season in 2020.”