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Pinellas County Christmas lights contest ignites holiday spirit

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Posted at 6:44 PM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-21 18:44:06-05

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A group of Pinellas County homeowners are on a mission to bring back the holiday spirit!

$1,000 is on the line for homeowners in Pinellas County competing in a holiday light display. The contest is being put on by Blake Real Estate and highlights more than 400 homes showing off their dazzling, festive displays.

With just one look at Andrew Dow’s Safety Harbor home at 44 Harbor Lake Circle, you can guess his favorite Christmas movie.

“Every year we just get bigger and better. My kids tell me ‘dad, we’ve got to add this and that.’ It’s something that I got crazy about doing watching Clark Griswold and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation movies,” Dow said with a smile. “I’m just trying to bring some happiness again to our community and our city because of everything we’ve all been through.”

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Dow’s house has thousands of lights, dozens of blow-up displays and he even has a snow machine. He also dresses up as Santa and brings his neighbors on an annual holiday hayride around the Harbor Oaks Neighborhood.

Dow is fighting for the top spot in the Pinellas County Holiday Lights competition. The winner will take home $1,000.

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Rick Blake of Blake Real Estate in Clearwater started the competition to spread holiday cheer through the past two lackluster years.

“It seemed to me like there was a lack of holiday spirit and it seemed like it was moving in the opposite direction so I wanted to see what I could do to provide a platform for people to elevate that spirit,” Blake explained.

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This is the second year for the Pinellas County Holiday Lights contest.

More than 40 homes are in the running including Brian Reitmeyer’s high-tech display in Palm Harbor at 960 Valley View Circle complete with a light show that syncs to music with singing Christmas trees.

“I love watching people as they pull up to the house and when the show starts and the music starts and some of the lights start dancing, the little kids in the back seat say ‘Oh wow!’ That’s what it’s all about,” Reitmeyer added.

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The winner is whoever gets the most votes. You can text the unique code of your favorite house to 855-946-3472. Voting goes until midnight on December 28.

“The countdown is on for Christmas so hopefully everybody goes and takes a look and appreciates it,” Blake added.

The homeowners tell ABC Action News that win or lose, they’re just happy to bring that twinkling, dazzling togetherness to Tampa Bay.

You can read more about the competition here:

You can read more about Dow's display here: