The Durham Business Association (DBA) hosted its 21st annual Light Up Durham competition on Wednesday night. All Durham businesses and UNH sororities and fraternities were invited to adorn their respective buildings with holiday decorations. Although the festive mood would have been heightened with snow instead of rain, the town was not discouraged.
“Businesses used to decorate on their own [buildings] and so would some sororities and fraternities,” Ken Barrows said. “So it’s nice to have a combined contest.” Barrows, the Memorial Union Building’s liaison to the DBA, was one of the seven judges participating in this year’s contest.
Along with Barrows were DBA Executive Director Katie Muth, UNH Printing employee Claire Powell and People’s United Bank Brand Manager and DBA member Lori Roy. UNH junior health policy and management major Meghan Linehan and sophomore political science major Christian Merheb were on the panel of judges as well. Linehan is a member of the Kappa Delta sorority and is the slated UNH Panhellenic Council president for the 2017 year. Merheb is a member of the Phi Mu Delta fraternity and was recently elected president of the UNH Interfraternity Council.
The team met up at Breaking New Grounds, collected their clipboards and pens to take notes and went from there. In past years, judges would cover the campus and downtown on foot, but this year, they were able to split into two vans to drive from building to building.
Judging was split into three categories and was based primarily on creativity and effort.
In first place for “Best Fraternity” was Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) with their assortment of colorful lights, inflatable snowmen and lit up truck. AGR member Dan DeRoche also pulled at the judges’ heartstrings with his Australian shepherd puppy, Tonka. Sigma Phi Epsilon came in second, blasting “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” and offering hot chocolate and candy canes to passersby. Third place for “Best Fraternity” was awarded to Lamda Chi Alpha, whose red, white, and blue light flag caught the judges’ eyes.
Chi Omega was awarded first place for “Best Sorority” impressing the judges with their fence strung with garlands and white lights in symmetry. Kappa Delta won second place for a classic white-light ensemble lining each door and window. Alpha Xi Delta took third place with their candy cane walk way and illuminated swing.
Finally, SolSistar took the cake for “Best Downtown Business” with their gold-adorned wreaths, red velvet bows and simple white lights. The Candy Bar won second place for their festive snowman and the Durham Book Exchange took third for their heart-warming window display.