Judy Pancoast has been fantasizing about winning a Grammy since she watched The Carpenters receive the music award on television as a 12-year-old girl in Waterville.

“They were my idols, and I said, ‘One day I’m going to get one of those,’” said Pancoast, who has suddenly gotten a lot closer to achieving her goal.

Pancoast, 51, has been nominated for a Grammy for Best Musical Album for Children. Her CD, “Weird Things Are Everywhere!” is up against albums by previous Grammy winners Pete Seeger and They Might Be Giants.

“I figure it’s a long shot to win, but it doesn’t matter because I’ve got my foot in the door,” Pancoast said.

The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards show is on Feb. 13. Pancoast, who now lives in Manchester, N.H., said she plans to take her two daughters to the ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“I don’t know if they’ll let me walk the red carpet, but I hope so,” she said.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Pancoast, who’s been on tour promoting her song “The House on Christmas Street,” which has become a sensation among homeowners with elaborate holiday lighting displays.

After learning that people all over the country had been synchronizing their light shows to her song, Pancoast put the word out that she’d travel to their houses to perform on their lawns. She hoped the tour would generate publicity for her song and maybe get her on morning talk shows, or at least some radio play.

“I said, ‘I’ve got to do something different this year. I’ve got to create a buzz,’” she said about the song, which she recorded in 1998.

Pancoast isn’t being paid for performing. She only asks the homeowners to cover the cost of a hotel for the night and collect money during the concert for a charity of their choice. So, when a man from England called asking her to sing at his house, she had to tell him she couldn’t afford to fly there.

Within a day, however, the man had booked her a flight and sent a ticket confirmation number through e-mail. After starting her tour with a concert in Claremont, N.H., on Nov. 22, Pancoast flew to England and performed at the man’s house in Wells.

“I ended up on the BBC. It was quiet the event,” she said.

As she walked into the airport to get on a flight back to the United States, Pancoast got a text message from her daughter with the news of her Grammy nomination.

“I just went, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,” Pancoast said. “I’m over the moon.”

Since then, Pancoast has sung her Christmas song on lawns in Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Missouri. Last week, she was driving to a house in Indianapolis, and had performances planned in Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, before her final concert in Orlando, Fla., on Christmas Eve.

“It’s been an amazing ride,” she said.

Pancoast started trying to break into the music business when she was 13 years old. The singer, songwriter and piano player sent tapes of her original work — including a song about her crush on Elton John — to record company addresses that she found on the back of albums.

After graduating from Waterville High School in 1977, Pancoast — then Judy Labbee — went onto major in music at the University of Maine. She lived in Bangor after college and worked as a radio disc jockey, while playing at a piano bar five nights a week.

Pancoast continued sending out demo tapes. She tried Christian music and joined a country band. She even moved to Nashville for a year in search of her big break, but it didn’t come, and she decided to give up and go into teaching.

She moved back north and enrolled at the University of New Hampshire to get a master’s degree in education. While student teaching, she would make up songs to sing for the children in her classrooms. When other teachers heard how much the kids liked her songs, they asked her to sing at a school assembly. Then she started getting gigs at other schools and libraries.

By the time Pancoast earned her degree, she was getting paid enough to perform that she didn’t have to get a teaching job, and hasn’t since.

Pancoast, who has recorded six children’s CDs, comes back to Waterville to sing at local libraries about once a year. Carol Cooley, director of the Oakland Public Library, said her annual performance is a highlight for the children.

“She has the kids just jumping out of their seats,” said Cooley.

Kayla Begin, 10, never misses one of Pancoast’s shows, if she can help it. She’s memorized “The House on Christmas Street” and listens to Pancoast’s CDs “whenever I can,” she said.

“I’m a big friend and fan of Judy,” Begin said. “She’s just an awesome singer, one of the best that I know.”

But despite having a devoted fan base and an abundance of gigs, last year, Pancoast hadn’t reached the level of success she had hoped she would. She said she cried all day when she turned 50, feeling like her time was up.

“Little did I know the best was yet to come,” she said. “The last two weeks have been the best two weeks of my entire life.”