Parking meters get facelift
Posted: November 30, 2012
The Winchester Star
Berryville — The first round of Christmas cheer hit the Main Street of Berryville this week.
Contestants in the annual Parking Meter Decorating Contest may decorate their meters with their chosen seasonal theme until Saturday, said Luanne Carey, manager of Berryville Main Street, which sponsors the event.
Gone will be the 52 metal poles lining Main Street, and in their place will be famous cartoon characters, Christmas trees and other holiday-themed creations.
“It makes downtown festive and colorful, and it gets people in the spirit for the holidays,” Carey said.
New this year, the contest is shifting away from traditional judging and going to a straight People’s Choice vote, Carey said. The public may cast ballots for their top three choices from Saturday to Dec. 13 at Fire House Gallery, Sponseller’s Flower Shop, and Sweet Surrender, all on Main Street.
Entries are still open with a $5 fee for Main Street Berryville members and students and $10 for others.
The top three People’s Choice winners will be announced at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Fire House Gallery, she said. First, second and third place will receive $100, $50 and $25 in Berryville Bucks to be used at participating stores in town.
Organizers are hoping the switch will generate more interest in the community for the contest, which has had a drop of entries in the last two years.
The winners will be awarded during the Downtown Berryville Merchants Group’s $1,500 giveaway, a promotional event designed to get people into the local businesses, said Sherry Craig, owner of Sweet Pea’s Children Shop in Berryville. People can enter their names daily at the 28 participating businesses, and all of the entries will be brought to the gallery the day of the drawing.
The drawing will award 10 people with $100 and a grand prize winner with $500, all of which will be half in cash and half in Berryville Bucks.
So far, entries for the parking meter competition include local clubs, school art classes, a Boy Scout troop and businesses, she said.
The businesses in particular enjoy the contest because it is great advertising for six weeks, Craig said. She looks forward to the contest every year and usually is one of the first ones to decorate her meter.
“People love it. We watch people walk up and down the street and look at all of them. I know I do,” said Craig of Charles Town, W.Va..
The contest is meant to make the most of the fact that there will be no charge for parking downtown through Jan. 1, she said. The town used to cover the meters with bags, but then the contest was suggested, and the result has been some spectacular sights, she said.
Past themes have included snowmen, the North Pole, Christmas trees, a gingerbread man, bird houses, Santa’s mailbox, a camouflage tree, a stack of presents, a lollipop, a reindeer made of greenery, and Snoopy on his dog house. On one, the Grinch was pulling down a tree and a separate fireplace was placed nearby.
Participants can decorate the pole or place something on top of it, Carey said. Decorations are supposed to be weatherproof and not impede the sidewalk or street. All decorations have to come down by Dec. 30.
Most of all, organizers hope the decorations are fun and creative, something that is going to catch people’s eyes and make them want to linger downtown, she said.
Entries will be judged by the public Saturday to Dec. 13. Winners will be announced at 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at Fire House Gallery.
Decorating entries are $5 for Main Street Berryville members and students and $10 for all others.
For more information or to register, call 540-955-4001 or pick up an entry form at Fire House or Sponseller’s.
— Contact Laura McFarland at email@example.com