Introducing CLUC 500 – Holiday Decorating for the Rest of Us

Christmas Light-Up Contest (CLUC 500)

By Cary Peterson

This year HVHA is introducing a new outdoor Christmas decorating opportunity.

In addition to the venerable Parade of Lights, CLUC 500 offers an opportunity for competitive outdoor Christmas displays using not more than 500 lights. More is not always better, and now you can prove it.

Decorate your house and/or yard to its minimalist best!

Sound like fun?

It’s definitely doable without breaking the family budget with a big electric bill on top of sizable set-up costs.

Here are the basics:

  • How do you take part in this new and fun event?  All it takes to enter CLUC is a phone call to 775-225-7354. Leave a voicemail message with the reason for your call, your name, address, phone number and a call-back time. I will return your call and verify your entry. I’ll respond to any of your questions as well.
  • When does the judging take place?  Judging will be done on Friday, December 8th and Saturday, December 9th from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. You must have your lights on during these two nights to ensure that your decorations are judged.
  • Who judges the CLUC 500?  Since this is the first year of the contest, I am at present the only judge of this competition. If you want to help judge, please call and let me know.
  • What is to be gained by entering?  Each entrant will be acknowledged and listed by address on the HVHA website. The top 20 entries will be listed by ranking. There will be a $50 gift card awarded to the top decorator. You can opt out of having your address listed for the contest, just let me know. There will not be yard signs showing ranking or plaques awarded this year due to the preliminary nature of the event.
  • What happens after the judging?  I would like to see the entrants leave their Christmas lights on at least during Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights from 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. for the remainder of the month. That decision is yours. Here, more is better in my view.

Why the new contest: Isn’t the Parade of Lights sufficient for Hidden Valley?

I’ve lived in Hidden Valley for three years but I’ve been a Truckee Meadows resident for most of my life. As a young man, I heard stories about the Christmas lights displays in Hidden Valley. After moving here in December 2014, I found myself a bit disappointed. I did not find Hidden Valley brimming with Christmas cheer, or at least not with Christmas lights.

After driving around to view the top 10 decorated homes, I knew I had a good chance to successfully compete the next year….and I did. (But that’s another story.) Let’s just say that I decorate for Christmas and know the cost and effort it takes to compete in the Parade of Lights. I also know the joy of competition and the pride forthcoming from the occasional compliments.

In my view, the Parade of Lights may not be what it once was in its prime, but it does have a rich history and a solid legacy that should be preserved, protected and enhanced if we can find ways to do so. This is why I and the HVHA Board is giving the CLUC 500 a trial run this year.
I commend past and present participants in the Parade of Lights and those who have served as judges and Parade of Lights committee members for keeping this tradition going for 35 years. I hope it continues for another 35 years.

In that spirit, and in an effort to encourage more homes to decorate for Christmas to give residents and seasonal visitors to Hidden Valley something akin to the old Hidden Valley Christmas magic, I have organized CLUC 500 as a new contest for a different group of homeowners. Together, Parade of Lights and CLUC 500 can keep us as a top spot for Christmas visitors looking for the magic only Christmas lighting can bring.

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