The first-ever ‘Trail of Lights’ event was a success, contributing $25,000 to area nonprofits. The Weston-Siefker family of Kennebunk was the winner in the home category, for their “Island of Misfit Toys” display, with 555 votes. Courtesy Photo

KENNEBUNKPORT – In its first year, the Holiday Trail of Lights contest in the Kennebunks raised more than$25,000 for local nonprofits.

The contest celebrated the holiday with a friendly competition between homes and businesses to “out-decorate” each other— all to benefit community not-for-profits, all in a socially distant and festive way, said Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel Chamber of Commerce Director Laura Dolce.

“We are thrilled that so many people enjoyed driving around to see the dozens of creative displays,” said Kennebunkport Town Manager Laurie Smith of the contest, which attracted 67 private homes and businesses and stretched from Dec. 1-28. “And more importantly, so many voted that we are able to write checks for more than $25,000 to local not-for-profits. Those funds will support education, food insecurity, homeless pets, cancer care and so many more needs in our community.”

Winning the contest for best home display was the Weston-Siefker family of Kennebunk for their “Island of Misfit Toys” display, with 555 votes. Their win, which benefited the Sea Road School PTA, was a bittersweet one, Sarah Weston said, as they lost her dad to COVID-19 during the contest.

‘Trail of Lights’ winner in the business category with 256 votes was Batson River Tasting Room in Kennebunk. In all, the contest raised $25,000 for area nonprofits. Courtesy Photo

“One of the last conversations I had with him while he was in the hospital was how to add some more lights to the display,” she wrote. “So, this holiday light contest ended up being the last project and memory we have with our dad.”

Winning in the business category with 256 votes was Batson River Tasting Room in Kennebunk, which chose the Animal Welfare Society as its not-for-profit partner.

Given the success this year, organizers are already planning for the 2021 event.

“We learned a lot this first time around,” Smith said, “and people are already asking if they can participate in 2021. Stay tuned.”

Nonprofits that benefitted from the event include: A Place to Start, American Legion Post 159, Animal Welfare Society, Arundel Conservation Trust, Atlantic Hall, Brick Store Museum, Center for Grieving Children, Community Harvest, Community Outreach Services, CS3 Connection, Ever After Mustang Rescue, Good Shepard Food Bank, Grahamtastic Connection, Habitat for Humanity Weatherization Program, Kennebunk Community Garden, Kennebunkport Emergency Fuel Fund, Kennebunkport Historical Society, Louis T. Graves Memorial Library, Lucky Pup Rescue, Maine Lobstermen’s Association, New England Lab Rescue, No Place Like Home, Portside Rotary, River Tree Arts, Run for the Fight, Sea Road school PTA, Seashore Trolley Museum, St. David’s Budget Box, The Center, The Dempsey Center, Kennebunk Kennebunkport and Arundel Chamber of Commerce, The Little Pantry, Tommy McNamara Foundation, Town of Kennebunkport Public Assistance Fund, Toys for Tots and York County Shelter Programs.

For more information, visit www.trailoflightsme.com.