Residents and businesses in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel can sign up until Nov. 14 to take part in the Holiday Trail of Lights. In 2020, Weston-Siefker family’s “Island of Misfit Toys” on Storer Street was the winner in the residential category. The event raised $25,000, which was donated to 40 local nonprofits. Courtesy photo

KENNEBUNK – There is something special about being in Maine during the holidays – like the fascination about taking a drive, especially if there is a light covering of snow, to see everyone’s holiday lights and decorating themes. Choosing which displays spark your imagination, and help get you into the holiday spirit, can be fun.

Bring on the Holiday Trail of Lights, where residents and businesses vie to present the absolute best – whether they choose a traditional or modern design, something quirky, or eclectic, something fun.

And in order for families to hop in their vehicle to begin driving around Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel, voting for their favorites in early December, residents and businesses must sign up soon to take part, said Kennebunkport Town Manager Laurie Smith.

Batson River Tasting Room was the first place business winner in the 2020 Holiday Trail of Lights event. which returns in 2021. Residents and businesses can sign up now to take part. Proceeds benefit local nonprofits. Courtesy Photo

Last year, the Trail of Lights raised more than $25,000, which was donated to more than 40 local nonprofits. In all, 67 homes and businesses got into the spirit and decorated.

Smith came up with the Holiday Trail of Lights idea in 2020, to give people a fun, safe way to see holiday decorations while benefiting local nonprofits and organizations, recalled Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel Chamber of Commerce Director Laura Dolce.

Businesses and homeowners can participate by choosing a partner not-for-profit and signing up at trailoflightsme.com. There is a $25 entry fee and the deadline for entries is end of day Monday Nov. 14. Participants will be divided into two categories — businesses and homes — and winners will be awarded in each category.

Organizers say participants will be identified on a downloadable map and signs will be provided so drivers can locate participants on the Holiday Trail of Lights.

Spectators will be asked to vote for homes and businesses that created “the most festive, over-the-top, Hallmark-worthy” displays on the Holiday Trail of Lights website for $5 a vote, starting Dec. 3. One hundred percent of the donated funds will go to the not-for-profit partner of the house or business receiving the vote. Grand Prize winners receive an extra $500 for their selected organization.

In 2020, the Weston-Siefker family’s “Island of Misfit Toys” on Storer Street earned 555 votes, raised $2,775 and won $500 for the Sea Road School PTA. In the business category, Batson River Tasting Room earned 256 votes and raised $1,280 plus $500 in prize money for Animal Welfare Society.

Dolce said she loved hearing stories last year, stories that touched the heart – like how the Weston-Siefker family planned their theme with the help of Sara Weston’s father, who, even though he was ill,  called for updates from hospital bed, and how the family carried on in his memory when he passed away.

“That blew me away,” Dolce said. “I also loved seeing how much the donations meant to local nonprofits at a very tough time. Our own Little Pantry (at the Chamber of Commerce) benefited, and it allowed us to help hungry people in our community throughout the winter months.”

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