The second annual Vankleek Hill Winter Wonderland of Lights event is taking place this year, with a deadline of December 6 for homeowners who want to enter their decorated homes in the outdoor decorating contest.

Participants have until December 6 at midnight to email [email protected] and provide their name, address and contact info. Judges will pass by properties just after sunset on December 12 to judge entries in the two categories: best use of lights and best environmentally-friendly exhibit.

This year’s prize money is being provided by eight local businesses: Etude Légale Robert Tolhurst Law Office, I-Team Home Inspections, Vankleek Hill Foodland, St. Pierre Construction, Wylie Property Maintenance, Hillcrest Funeral Home, The Review and Louise Sproule Real Estate. Prizes for each category will be as follows: first prize is $500 in Vankleek Hill bucks; second prize is $250 in Vankleek Hill bucks and third prize is $100 in Vankleek Hill bucks. Vankleek Hill bucks can be used at most local businesses in Vankleek Hill and are a shop-local initiative of the Vankleek Hill Business and Merchant Association (BMA).

The decorating contest is organized by the Vankleek Hill BMA, which enlists three judges who visit the decorated locations and whose identities will remain anonymous. Likewise, judges do not know the names of property-owners whose homes they are visiting.

On December 7, a list of addresses of decorated homes will be posted online and published in The Review; homeowner names are never published, except when the winners’ names are announced.

In tandem with this event, a ‘Giving Tree’ will be installed in the Philip Arber Memorial Park at the main intersection of Vankleek Hill (right next to the Vankleek Hill Creating Centre). The Vankleek Hill BMA is encouraging people to donate to their favourite local charity, helping others in need or local residents can make a donation to the Vankleek Hill Food Bank. The Creating Centre is accepting non-perishable food items during the holiday season. Cheques made out to the Vankleek Hill Food Bank or the Community Assistance Fund Enterprise, which manages the food bank, will be accepted. Charitable donation receipts will be mailed out to donors who have donated more than $10. (Please ensure that your mailing address accompanies cheque donations.) The BMA thanks Samme Putzel and the Creating Centre for their cooperation.

Other holiday highlights in Vankleek Hill in the coming weeks include the first-ever Christmas Porch Tour and Gnome Scavenger Hunt on Saturday, November 20. Tickets are $20 each and include the map to direct you to five porches decorated by five local businesses, each with a vendor outside each home. The ticket price includes a Christmas lunch (tourtière, salad and Christmas dessert) at the Windsor Tavern.

Porch Tour tickets are available from Jade Garden (613-678-6008) or from Pink Bow Tie (613-678-3223). The Christmas Porch Tour is organized by these business owners, under the umbrella of the Vankleek Hill BMA.

In the meantime, Champlain Library is once again inviting area residents to purchase a book for young people, so that every child will wake up to a new book on Christmas morning. The books are provided to children whose families are recipients of Christmas baskets.

If you want to be part of this initiative, visit the Champlain Library website at: to complete the online form and be matched with a child. You will receive a confirmation of your participation. All books must be delivered to the library unwrapped, accompanied by a gift bag and tissue paper, by Tuesday, November 30.

The Vankleek Hill Business and Merchant Association is a not-for-profit organization run entirely by volunteers, primarily business owners.

If you own a new business and would like to find out more, email: [email protected] .