Judges have named the best in Huntington’s Holiday Decorating Contest, sponsored by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson along with Supervisor Chad Lupinacci. The annual contest, now in its fourth year, encourages Huntington residents to get into the holiday spirit by decorating their homes with displays of lights, garland, wreaths and anything else they can imagine.
“Every year it gets better and better,” Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson said. “Supervisor Lupinacci and I had a wonderful time visiting people’s homes and seeing their individual expressions of the holiday spirit.”
The Supervisor agreed.
“It was difficult picking a winner. Every house scored a perfect 10 in my book,” Lupinacci said.
Judges visited the homes of 18 finalists selected from among dozens of online entries.
Donnie Creegan of Huntington Station was the big winner for an outdoor display that keeps growing and growing.
For Creegan, it all started about five years ago with the purchase of a six-feet Santa. Every year since he has added pieces or another theme to the display. This year, a Nightmare Before Christmas section joined Santa, the Grinch, life-sized elves and reindeer amid giant lollipops made from pool noodles. Mason Creegan loves helping his dad with the set-up, and neighborhood children get into the act dropping letters into Santa’s mailbox.
And don’t think the decorating stops at the door. The Creegans have a 15-foot Christmas tree inside and decorations throughout the house.
Second place winners Francine and Eddie Schwarz win two free tickets to any show at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport, and an overnight stay at Oheka Castle for their meticulously decorated Melville home.
The Schwarz house is decorated down to the sink with Christmas-themed collectibles. The couple has been collecting and decorating for 40 years and every year friends and family add to the collection.
Their home features three decorated trees: a Precious Moments tree; another decorated with Santas; and a live tree in the kitchen decorated with nutcrackers and little bears. A train set under the family tree is a tribute to Con Ed where Ed worked for more than 30 years.
Assembling it all is a task that they love to do together. It takes more than two weeks to set everything in its place.
Third place winner Robert Amodeo of Huntington Station caught the bug for over-the-top decorating 25 years ago when he helped his father light up their home in Bethpage. When he moved to Huntington in 2011 he brought the tradition with him.
“All my friends and family know it’s a passion of mine,” Amodeo said. “I try to add something new every year. I love bringing the sense of holiday spirit to the neighborhood, the reaction of the children and neighbors who stop by to take pictures and view our set up.”
The Amodeos’ children, Isabella 8, and Anthony 4, love watching their dad set up the decorations.
“It helps keep that fire going,” Amodeo said. “My wife Cathy also enjoys the outdoor decorations, and knows how much I enjoy doing it.”
The Amodeos win a $175 gift certificate to Honu Kitchen and Cocktails in Huntington village, and an overnight stay at Oheka Castle.
All winners also receive a one-year subscription to The Long-Islander, and judges brought holiday cookies from Copenhagen Bakery to all of the finalists.
Cuthbertson and Lupinacci expressed gratitude to the contest’s sponsors: The Paramount, John W. Engeman Theater at Northport, Honu Kitchen and Cocktails, and OHEKA Castle whose prize packages provided incentive to contestants.
Here’s the full list of winners: