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W.O. Boosts Holidays With Decorating Contest

By Sarah Turnbull
The Tube City Almanac
December 30, 2020
Posted in: White Oak News

Sherry Brakeall’s home was named the “Best Traditional” entry in White Oak’s first home decorating contest. Organizers are hoping it becomes an annual event. (Submitted photo)

White Oak’s parks and recreation committee made some Christmas magic and boosted the holiday spirit with the borough’s first home decorating contest.

Organizers are hopeful that they’ve created a new tradition.

“I’d like to thank everyone who made our inaugural year possible,” said Councilwoman Julie Opferman, who chairs the parks and recreation committee. “It gave us the Christmas joy we’ve been missing this year.”

A total of 40 houses registered for the contest. Participants could enter in one of three categories:

• “Best Traditional” for classic and elegant displays,
• “Clark Griswold,” named after the character in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” for the most extravagant light displays, or
• “Buddy the Elf” for the most festive display, i.e., themes and inflatables.

The Kozaks pose with their winning entry in the “Clark Griswold” category. (Submitted photo)

For Andrea Kozak, winner of the Clark Griswold category, entering the contest was a no-brainer.

“It is awesome to get recognized for something we love doing,” she said. “We try to add something new every year and this year we added a projector that plays five scenes on a blow up Santa. Santa reads ‘Twas the night before Christmas, but my favorite is the boy and girl gingerbread people dancing to a song about Santa Claus.”

Bob Trygar and Christine Boyle, winners of the Buddy the Elf category, appreciated the opportunity to bring some happiness to the community.

“We started with four deer and now 17 years later, we have an entire herd,” Boyle said. “As there haven't been many positives this year, it was really nice to be selected as a winner.  We live on a dead end street without much traffic, so it was nice to be able to share our decorations with others through the contest.”

Sherry Brakeall, winner of the Best Traditional category, agreed.

“I think this contest came at a time that we all needed something to look forward to,” Brakeall said. “I love decorating and crafting. Everyone did an awesome job decorating!”

Opferman said winners will receive first-place plaques, which Santa delivered to the winners, along with gift cards to Busy Beaver. Second- and third-place winners received certificates, and all participants will get a picture in the Mon Valley Independent.

Along with the new tradition of the house decorating contest, the borough also continued its tradition of Santa traveling around the community by fire truck on Christmas Eve.


Buddy the Elf
First Place:  2703 Laurel Lane
Second Place:  1630 California Ave.
Third Place:  413 Oliver Drive

The Griswolds
First Place:  2601 Henderson Road
Second Place:  318 Circle Drive
Third Place:  1205 Monongahela Blvd.

Best Traditional
First Place:  1900 Kansas Ave.
Second Place:  1120 Center St. Ext.
Third Place:  103 Victoria Drive

Sarah Turnbull is a freelance writer in Irwin. She can be reached at sarahturnbull323@gmail.com.

Originally published December 30, 2020.

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