by James Coulter
From gingerbread houses and Grinches to white and blue winter wonderlands, many local downtown businesses got into the Christmas spirit by decking their halls—or rather, decking their doors!
Four local businesses and organizations were rewarded for their festive doors by becoming winners of the annual Deck the Door Contest hosted by the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce.
Each of the participating businesses was judged in one of four categories. Dyer Kia won “Most Traditional” for their Christmas scene, Central Florida Health Care won “Most Creative” for their Blue Winter scene, Nesco Resources won “Most Festive” for their gingerbread house with a red door, and Lake Wales Storage won “Most Original” for their Grinch stuck in the chimney.
The Deck the Door contest was started in 2020 to help businesses maintain the holiday spirit even during COVID-19 restrictions, explained Lori Beyer, Executive Director for the Lake Wales Chamber.
“We started it back in 2020 during Covid to keep our members engaged and it caught on so we continued it last year and this year making it an annual contest,” she said.
Denzil James, a health care administrator, wanted his organization to participate in the Chamber’s contest, as Central Florida Health Care was also hosting a similar contest of their own.
Likeka Sierra, a staff member in Central Florida Health Care, decided to decorate their door because so many of their patients had never seen a white Christmas before. She decorated their door with blue Christmas wrapping paper and snowflakes.
“I came up with the theme because there is no winter in Florida snow-wise,” she explained. “The people I talked to have not seen snow, so I brought the snow to Central Florida Health Care.”
Lake Wales Storage featured the Grinch stuck in the fireplace as their door decoration. Manager Patricia “Pattie” Cooper came up with the idea with her daughter, and they both loved the idea.
“It was so fun decorating the door for Christmas,” she said. “She came up with something fun to try to make a few people smile (and so far it seems to be working). I mean, what better place for [the] old Grinch to be than stuck in the fireplace, right? Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!”
Tula Clough, wife of Kia Dyer Manager, Corey, does not fancy herself an artist, yet her door painting of a winter wonderland won her husband’s business the deck the door contest for “most traditional.”
“I was thinking of the Winter Wonderland,” she said. “It feels cool because I do not fancy myself a door artist, but I have been working on painting windows and doors now, and I really like it, it is a fun creative way to get out there.”