After months of preparation and meticulous positioning of festive lights and radiant North Pole characters, the city’s merriest homes, streets and shopfronts are now vying for votes in the 2021 City of Ipswich Christmas Lights Competition.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said it was fantastic to see so many homes and businesses bring cheer to the city with their unmissable Christmas lights displays.
“Many Ipswich residents and business owners have gone to great lengths to create uplifting light displays that transform front yards and shopfronts into merry wonderlands,” Mayor Harding said.
“It is always a wonderful experience visiting neighbourhoods across our city and seeing the joy on people’s faces as they explore our suburbs to enjoy the displays.”
Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee chair Councillor Andrew Fechner said more than 80 homes, businesses and streets are lighting up the city with festive displays as part of the competition.
“Christmas starts at home, where we gather with family and friends, and by decorating our houses, yards, and fences we help share the season’s sparkle and spirit with our community,” Cr Fechner said.
“Across Ipswich, families will be able to enjoy some of South East Queensland’s most creative and colourful Christmas lights displays in their streets and suburbs.”
Online voting is open 2 to 6 December, with a full list of addresses for voting will be available on ChristmasInIpswich.com.au
Categories include Best Residential, Best Business/Organisation, Best Street, People’s Choice, Best New Entry and Best Sustainable Display. Winners will share in over $8,000 worth of cash and prizes.
First time entrant in the competition, Sharvarne Packer says her favourite part of their Flinders View display is the giant kangaroo, which has been their largest ‘investment’.
“We wanted a ‘wow’ factor, and when we saw it we just had to have it. It’s an ode to the Aussie Christmas, whether you’re in the city or the outback,” Ms Packer said.
“This is our first year, and we started buying and planning in July. I asked my husband if I could buy a few lights, and this is now where we’re at!
“It’s just an awesome feeling seeing young and old smiling, and you’re never too old to sit on Santa’s knee.”
A finalist in last year’s Best New Entry category, Robyn Drury says her favourite part of their sprawling Pine Mountain display is the waterfall that flows down rock stairs to a reindeer drinking.
“The most difficult part in setting up the display is powering it all up and still being able to cook dinner without tripping a circuit breaker,” Ms Drury said.
“We love the excitement on children’s faces as they move around the display and show their parents what they’ve found.”
Maree Bowater says the ‘X factor’ of their lights in Deebing Heights is the sheer brightness of their display.
“Even our own kids still gasp every time we drive around the bend and see the house lit up!” Ms Bowater said.
“We’ve found handwritten notes in our mailbox from children, thanking us for creating a Christmas wonderland. You couldn’t get any better thanks or appreciation so that’s why we put so much of ourselves into it.”
Caretaker of The Springs Lifestyle Village in Silkstone, Marina McDonald said many residents are keen to lend a hand or give advice as they watch the lights go up.
“Each group within the village has their own Christmas parties and there’s a real buzz in the air,” Ms McDonald said.
“The annual Christmas lights here at the village have been a tradition for many years, and it’s something the residents and locals now expect.
“Their grandchildren, and in some cases great grandchildren, look forward to seeing them when they come to visit so it’s important to keep that tradition going.”
Ipswich Regional Manager of the Public Trustee, Kylie Retschlag said their team has prepared a window display every year for the past 20 years to celebrate the festive season with the community.
“Every year we try to recycle and use environmentally friendly products, with team members often donating Christmas decorations to the display,” Ms Retschlag said.
“This year, we have used recycled wood planks to create Christmas tree frames to hang lights from. With a little creativity and work, we try to make recycled products into something beautiful for the community to enjoy.”
For over two decades Dianne Blair has been creating festive displays in Nova Court in Flinders View.
She says children in their neighbourhood know Christmas is around the corner when their iconic ‘star’ comes out.
“Some of the families have been coming each year since their children were born. Thank you to all my neighbours and the effort they give, it’s worthwhile because we have a small yet amazing street to live on and has a huge heart to share,” Ms Blair said.
Over at Mahogany Street in Raceview, Kym Watkins says it takes great community spirit, dedication and a love for Christmas to deliver their interactive display.
“We have Santa, The Grinch, Minnie and Mickey Mouse, Garfield and Pink Panther Mascots, all who come out for visits and photos with our guests,” Ms Watkins said.
“This year we also have Bob the Builder, Dora the Explorer, Abby Cadabby and Bluey mascots, plus our walk-through snow zone, bubbles and more!”
And at Clarice Avenue in North Ipswich, Kerrymaree Edwards-Steenstra says Christmas helps everyone forget all the not-so-pleasant events of the year.
“I’ve been doing this for 33 years, when everyone on the street thought I was nuts. Nowadays, nearly all the houses are making an effort one way or another,” Ms Edwards-Steenstra said.
“It’s all in the spirit of Christmas, and I love decorating my home for everyone to enjoy!”
The giant Christmas tree in d’Arcy Doyle Place is also a must see when its lights are switched on 6:45pm Friday 3 December.
The 2021 City of Ipswich Christmas Lights Competition is presented by Ipswich City Council in partnership with Slater and Gordon Lawyers and is supported by Energex, River 94.9, Nine News Queensland, NGU Real Estate Ipswich, Events Cinemas Springfield, Choices Flooring by Mallets, Ipswich, Harvey Norman Booval, Premier Queensland and Pocket Retreats.