ATASCADERO – The Businesses Improvement District (BID) held their first holiday window decorating competition this December and gave out $1,500 to its top three winners and one honorable mention. The competition instructions were simple, make this the most ridiculous display of holiday cheer that you can possibly think of, and encouraged all the businesses in the downtown area to join in on the fun.

Morjesi’s Salon came in first place with a stunning display featuring snowmen, lights, Christmas trees, the Grinch and even a baby Grinch, earning the $750 top prize. Anna & Co came in second place with their big windows full of tinsel, lights, ornaments, and holiday spirit, winning $400. With a prize of $250, third place went to the Raconteur Room who had live Christmas music playing from their roof as the judges made their way around. 

The ARTery finished as the honorable mention, winning $100.

Judging the competition was City Councilmember Charles Bourbeau and Atascadero residents Angela Cisneros and Maggie Tillman.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Fourteen businesses entered the competition and had the entire month of November to get their windows prepared for the holiday festivities. The competition was judged on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, with the winners being announced by Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno at the holiday lighting ceremony on Friday, Dec. 4. 

“This was the first year that we have done it, and the idea is to grow the event in the coming years,” Zoe Zappas, BID Chair, told the Atascadero News. “This was a really tough year for small businesses, and we wanted to find a way to support them, and we originally thought about doing a sort of pub crawl to-go, but as we went back into the purple tier, it just didn’t feel right to do.”

Zappas, who sits on the Executive Board of the Businesses Improvement District (BID), wanted to find a way to help small businesses near the holidays. In the future, she hopes the event can continue to grow in the coming years and get even more creative once we rid ourselves of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I wanted to get a lot of involvement because we aren’t doing any events this year, and we had some assessment money for the Business Improvement District that we needed to use, so we gave prize money.”

The holiday window decorating competition worked hand-in-hand with the City’s Trail of Lights this year to turn the entire town into a winter wonderland. While this year’s competition only ended a month ago, Zappas already has big plans for 2021.

“Next year, we will make it bigger and better, and hopefully, more and more businesses will want to join,” Zappas said.