Owensboro Municipal Utilities and the Owensboro Neighborhood Alliance are kicking off another year of the Golden Santa Award for the best Christmas lights in town.

The city has had such a contest — off and on — for 86 years.

In 1934, in the depths of the Great Depression, the Messenger-Inquirer proposed a Christmas decorating contest.

First prize, the story said, would be $100 and a portable radio.

Adjusted for inflation, that $100 would be worth nearly $2,000 today.

The contest apparently lapsed in the 1940s, maybe because of wartime shortages.

But in 1948, the Chamber of Commerce’s retail merchant’s division brought it back.

In 1965, the Owensboro Jaycees, which had been sponsoring the event, decided to discontinue it.

A spokesman said the organization needed to concentrate on other things.

So, in 1966, OMU took it over.

More than 120 homes participated that year. And Jaycees stepped in to judge the event.

This year, the contest carries a first prize of a $250 OMU gift certificate, a prize package and a lighted yard sign.

Entries will be judged on originality, use of light, color, design and movement.

The deadline for entries is Dec. 11. Judging is scheduled for Dec. 14-15.

The winner will be honored by the Owensboro City Commission and the Owensboro Utility Commission.

They can also call OMU at 270-926-3200 or the City Action Line at 270-687-4444.

The contest is open to all OMU customers inside the city limits.

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301 klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

Keith Lawrence 270-691-7301


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