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Alliston Lions to host new Festival of Lights this holiday season in support of Christmas Hamper program

November 25, 2021   ·   0 Comments

The Alliston Lions Club has announced a new holiday home decorating contest this holiday season, where homeowners in Alliston and area can enter for a chance to win cash prizes.

Alliston Lions Festival of Lights chair Scott Cooke told The Times the event is both fun and a fun-draiser, with proceeds from the minimum $10 registration fee directed to their annual Christmas Hamper Program.

“This is a great fit with our mantra to support the community, as it promotes community, caring, and happiness,” said Cooke. “With CERB and other government programs winding down, and the cost of food, heating, transportation, and rent going up, many families will have difficulties this year. Many families have also seen overtime loss, some wage loss as plants have been closed on several occasions and won’t have the funds that are needed to make this a great Christmas – and that’s why our Hamper program is so important.”

Cooke says the idea for the Festival of Lights originated as a Halloween decorating contest, but the Lions fell short on time to implement the event for 2021.

“We were looking at an idea to supplement our Halloween Pumpkin Run and we saw that Innisfil had a Halloween Decorating Contest but realized we were just too short on time to organize and decided to move to having a Christmas event,” said Cooke. “We’ve had a lot of support from Jennifer Richardson who runs the Innisfil Halloween and Christmas house decorating contests. This event will also hopefully foster a sense of community and a friendly competition between neighbours and friends in the Alliston area.”

The Lions have organized the event through their Facebook page, found by searching “Alliston Lions Club”, where the forms needed to register can also be found, and questions answered through the Messenger app.

Paid registration closes on December 11, and judging will take place in three categories: 1st Place Winner, as decided by judges from the community; Community Choice Winner, as decided by the residents registered for the contest; and Griswold Christmas Winner, as selected by members of the Alliston Lions Club. 

“We are hoping for 100 homes, and cash prizes are set at $50 for the winner in each category,” said Cooke. “We would love to generate at least $1,000 for the Hampers – and hopefully we can get the community spirit up and generate interest for people to light up their neighbourhoods and create some good friendly competitiveness.”

Cooke says the judges are looking for creativity, originality, unique design concepts and creative use of lights and decorations.

“They’ll also be looking at arrangement, display and placement of decorations,” said Cooke. “Overall appearance, including colour coordination, balance, and attractiveness will also be factored in, as will any special effects or animation.”

“We ask when residents walk or drive to listed Festival of Lights locations that they do not park in front of the home, but a little further down the street,” adds Cooke. “Also, please be respectful of the neighbourhood and do not touch displays or act in a disruptive manner.” 

Now in its 25th year, the Alliston Lions Christmas Hamper Program supports over 150 families in the Alliston area each year – up from 25 families in year one.

“While these past few years have been incredibly stressful on families, we hope this event will highlight the creative talents of our homeowners and provide seasonal joy to many people,” said Cooke.

To register, contact Alliston Lions Club member Scott Cooke – chair, Alliston Lions Festival of Lights Tour – at:, or call 705-435-2419 or visit

By Wendy Gabrek


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