Vidalia lighting winners have long decorating tradition

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 30, 2005

NATCHEZ &8212; Vidalia&8217;s yards are full of snowmen and their houses are trimmed with icicles.

But don&8217;t run to the window to look outside &8212; it&8217;s not a sudden change in the weather.

Instead, it&8217;s a tradition for many Vidalians, one they can&8217;t see not doing even for a year &8212; the tradition of decorating their houses and yards to the nines for Christmas.

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And six residents and two offices even received awards for their efforts this year as part of the Vidalia Garden Club&8217;s annual lighting contest.

Marc and Tana Archer of 1201 Concordia Ave. won first place in the traditional category with two stories of icicle lights, lighted snowmen, reindeer, wreaths and more.

&8220;We didn&8217;t do as many (lights) at first, and my daughter Mallory said, &8216;It doesn&8217;t look as good this year,&8217; so my husband got back out and put up some more,&8221; Tana Archer said.

Tana Archer didn&8217;t grow up with many Christmas decorations but said she&8217;s been determined to do it ever since she&8217;s had children and continues now that one&8217;s 21 and the other, 17.

And if they&8217;re like Phyllis Carroll, they may do it for years to come. Her house, 4 Susan Circle, won second place in the children&8217;s Christmas category.

She started the centerpiece of her yard decorations, wooden &8220;bags of toys&8221; decorated with names, when her children were younger, and she has now added the names of her two grandchildren to the bunch.

&8220;I&8217;ve done this forever, ever since I&8217;ve been here &8212; and that&8217;s been 18 years,&8221; she said.

Next door, Ferd and Bernice Beer of 5 Susan Circle had Santa, elves and more in front of their house, as they&8217;ve been doing for more than 20 years.

&8220;My wife loves Christmas,&8221; Ferd Beer said.

Besides, he and Carroll said, they have to do it for the children and parents who drive through the circle each year to look at the yards lined with plastic candy canes and other fun decorations.

Other winners of this year&8217;s contest, themed &8220;The Wonder of Christmas,&8221; included:

4The Laster family, 1211 Concordia Ave., second place in the traditional category.

4The Brad Taylor family, 410 Dogwood St., first place in the religious category.

4The Ronny McNemar family, 108 Ashton Lane, second place in the religious category.

In addition, the Vidalia Police Station and Vidalia Fire Station, located next to each other on John Dale Drive, won first and second place in the business category, respectively.