How the Niles Sights and Lights decorating contest is spreading holiday cheer in the community
NILES, Mich. -- “So in a small town, I do not know maybe it is because I am older, but I envision the snow falling and the families walking and the businesses decorated and you hear the Christmas music playing,” says Sheila Koebel, resident of Niles. “And I guess I saw that we could do that here because we have enough people here who love their town and there’s a lot of good people here and I think they miss good ole fashion Christmas.”
Throughout the pandemic, Sheila Koebel noticed the world was missing something extra important for the holidays. A little light. But instead of falling into the gloom of the pandemic, she decided she wanted to help bring the holiday cheer back to her community.
Sheila and her husband started a neighborhood light decorating contest on Facebook, and her idea was so well received that it did not take long for the idea to… spark!
“So all of the sudden Mayor Shelton gave me a thumbs up and he messaged me and said hey I like your idea want to take it up a level, lets collaborate and let’s make it bigger”
Niles Mayor, Nick Shelton, took this ‘bright’ idea and ran with it! Introducing the greater Niles sights and lights decorating contest. Any home in the 49120 zip code can enter their homes exterior décor into a community wide contest. Then, families can venture throughout the city visiting each of the listed homes and vote for themselves.
The contest is so simple that there even is a map to follow along! Once the tour is complete, you vote for your favorite sight based on category.
So far, the city has raised 5,000 dollars to be distributed among the winners, but it is not just the neighborhoods who will be looking a bit brighter.
Businesses can also participate in the fun! The store fronts of downtown Niles are decorated to spread the cheer. The small businesses are included in the contest categories. For Sheila, everyone coming together to enjoy the little things, is what it is all about!
Learn more information here.
Find the map of lights here.