By Ken Johnson, Staff Writer
On Thursday evening, Durham was awash in holiday colors, Christmas decorations and the sound of Christmas music filtering through the air. The Durham Business Association held its 18th annual Light Up Durham.
“The annual Light Up Durham annual lighting contest is intended to benefit the entire Durham community, which includes Durham residents and businesses, as well as UNH faculty, staff and students,” stated a press release from the Durham Business Association. “This is an opportunity for everyone to get involved and to encourage local support for our businesses.”
“This is a time right now where every single person on campus is so stressed out — for finals, everything coming up, papers due, the next two weeks are absolute hell — and to take a moment to just kind of, like, worship the Christmas spirit, like our families used to bring us together back in the day, for like your mom and dad used to light it up,” said Christopher King, a junior member of Sigma Phi Epsilon. “It was great to get with all the guys and like be dads all together, you know, and, like, light it up and see what the community wanted.”
“I think that it’s fantastic [Durham Business Association] puts whis on and makes a judgment for it, but we would do it anyway, it’s awesome,” King continued.
Light Up Durham started for downtown relations and to support the businesses, said Katie Muth, executive director of the Durham Business Association.
All Durham businesses and recognized Greek fraternities and sororities are allowed to participate in the contest. Judging is done for three different categories:
Durham businesses, fraternities and sororities.
“We just like to fit in with the Durham community, we like to be an active part of that, so Light Up Durham gives us a chance to do that,” said Craig Nevin, a sophomore member of Sigma Nu.
According to the judging guidelines, judging is based on the effectiveness of lights creating the display; the placement and uniformity of the lights; the use of design and color to create the decorations; the use of special lighted displays; and the ingenuity, originality, and creativity exercised in the decorations.
“I think [Light Up Durham] brings a lot of Christmas spirit and gets everyone excited for the holidays. Everybody participates in Greek life, and I think it really shows our Christmas spirit around UNH,” said Max Perkins of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
In the business category, Durham Book Exchange took first place with SolSistar and the Candy Bar taking second and third places, respectively.
“We always like to be part of the Durham community, also show like good Christmas spirit, like brighten people’s day up by just walking by our house like hoping that maybe give them a good smile and just make their holidays better,” Nevin said.
In the fraternity category, Lambda Chi Alpha took first place.
“We’ve been working since Sunday and, little by little, just getting the pieces up, getting everybody over here, and it’s one of those things where some people come over and put the lights up. You gotta get everybody working together, coordinating it, just making sure it all goes together and get the unity and cohesion with everything; but, overall, in the end it definitely comes together,” said Nick Briscoe, a senior member of Lambda Chi Alpha.
Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Alpha Epsilon took second and third place, respectively, in the fraternity category.
“We had a committee that started off on Nov. 1, on our founder’s day, and it was called the Naughty List and these men would collaboratively work together,” King said.
A member who is an engineer at Sigma Phi Epsilon printed out plans of the house, made sketches to create the designs they wanted to do and made sure it wasn’t dangerous to put together the design, King said.
“We had people belaying from the roofs, we had people climbing trees; it was everything we have ever wanted to do,” King said. “The whole process has taken about a month and everything really came together in the past couple days here.”
In the sorority category, Alpha Chi Omega took first place. Alpha Xi Delta and Kappa Delta took second and third place, respectively.
“We really like [Light Up Durham] a lot,” Briscoe said. “It brings everybody together and just kind of fun; it’s a little cold out, but it’s fun to get everybody together up on the house putting the lights together. It just makes Durham look good as a whole.”
“[It was] another wonderful stroll through the streets of Durham, taking in the fraternities and sororities and the businesses, great job by all,” said Johanna Knight, president of the Durham Business Association. “[It was] wonderful to see the town tree lit and the wreaths lit for this event this year.”
“I love Light Up Durham!” King said.
Photo of the Lamba Chi Alpha fraternity house on page 1 taken by contributing photographer, Jane Smith.