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Community Improvement Committee hopes to spark interest in holiday light decorating

WORTHINGTON -- It was easy years ago to see the Christmas spirit when driving around Worthington, but the decorating trend has faded recently. The Worthington Chamber of Commerce's Community Improvement Committee is trying to change that.

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Mark Thier lays down tape while Jeff Baumgarn rotates the air duct candy cane slowly during a Tuesday night decoration-making event. (Jesse Trelstad/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON - It was easy years ago to see the Christmas spirit when driving around Worthington, but the decorating trend has faded recently. The Worthington Chamber of Commerce’s Community Improvement Committee is trying to change that.
Community Improvement Committee member Maria Thier lives along Lake Okabena. During the Christmas season, the streets along the lakeshore are considered Candy Cane Lane. Houses still decorate with candy canes to honor the theme, but Thier said the number of participants has dropped.
“In the last few years, we have noticed the holiday decorations in some neighborhoods have diminished, like around the lake,” Thier said. “We want to get the tradition going again.”
Other neighborhoods around town adapted other themes such as gingerbread, candlesticks and angels. 
“I think it used to bring the community together,” Thier said. “When people would drive into Worthington, people could just sense the holiday spirit.”
Thier said she realizes Christmas is still more than a month away, but she hopes to get people thinking and planning about their holiday decorations.
“I’d like to see people just getting with their neighbors and working on this together,” she said. “I think it’s good to have collaboration with your neighbors anyways and know who you live by.”
Continuing this year, the Chamber of Commerce will reward holiday decorators again with its Holiday Lighting Contest for Worthington residents and businesses.
Judging will take place the second week of December. There is no need to enter into the contest to qualify, however; nomination for your home or neighbor’s home are accepted. Nominations need to be in by Dec. 7.
Prizes for the contest winners include:
* First-place residential - $100 credit on December utility bill and $100 in Chamber Checks
* Second-place residential - $75 credit on December utility bill and $75 in Chamber Checks
* Third-place residential - $50 credit on December utility bill and $50 in Chamber Checks
* First-place business - $100 off 2016 Chamber dues and $100 credit on December utility bill.
* Second-place business - $75 off 2016 Chamber dues and $75 credit on December utility bill
Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darlene Macklin said she hopes people will get their neighborhoods working together to decorate with themes again this year.
“We use to have themes all over town,” Macklin said. “There was Star Lane, and Church Avenue was on Church Street. … Omaha was Avenue of Angels. There used to be a lot. 
“If anyone is looking to establish a theme, … contact us.”
To contact the Worthington Chamber of Commerce with any questions regarding holiday lighting, call 372-2919.

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