BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - There is an extra glow illuminating Berkeley Heights this season making the fourth annual Battle of the Bulbs competition a much-needed family-friendly holiday enjoyment -- a town-wide tour the community has embraced.
After a record number of nominations were cast and the top five vote-getters were judged, the winners of the fourth annual Battle of the Bulb have been announced. The top five homes were rated on "Wow" factor, overall effect, best design/theme, the best use of lights and other effects/inflatables.
"The extra holiday cheer this event created is just the right 'tonic' to help brighten the end of a gray year," said Dr. Patrick Smith, Chairman of the Berkeley Heights Business and Civic.
The winners are:
1st place - 11 Putnam Avenue, winning a $150 gift card donated by Delicious Heights. In addition, they received a commemorative holiday bulb themed glass plate donated by Linda's Creative Gifts.
2nd place - 168 Briarwood Drive, winning a $100 gift card donated by Goodman's Restaurant and Deli.
3rd place - 6 Whitney Drive, winning a $50 gift card donated by Grain and Cane.
Runners-Up: 71 Delmore Place, 81 Delmore Place
Honorable Mentions: Apple Tree Row, Willow Way, and Summit Avenue
Past winners [to include on this year's tour]: Cornell Drive and Camptown Drive.
Dr. Patrick Smith of Smith Chiropractic, Paul Neuwirth of Taylor Rental and Bobbie Peer of TAPinto Berkeley Heights made a surprise visit to winning homes and businesses to present the prizes and signs to proudly display their bragging rights as the winners of the 2020 fourth annual Battle of the Bulbs Contest.
Anna Critelli and her grandson Michael had to take a break from their Christmas cookie baking to step outside their Putnam Avenue home to learn the news. "We're here on behalf of BHB&C and TAPinto's fourth annual Battle of the Bulbs. You were highly nominated," said Dr. Smith. "You have a lot of fans out there."
The top prize was presented to the Critelli family, life-long residents of Berkeley Heights and the proud owners of Summit Hardware, family operated for the past 43 years. Their Disney themed decorations was inspired by their love of Disney World. Anna said they change their theme every year. In past years, they decorated with snowmen and gingerbread house themes.
Their elaborate decorations have also received accolades in Point Pleasant Beach. They had won the Harbor Association contest with an eight-foot tall Santa Claus displayed on their porch back when they lived at the shore.
"I love to do this," said Anna. "I do it for Halloween. I do it for Easter. I do it for all holidays."
The Cinque family at 168 Briarwood Drive East came in a close second -- touching on all judging points to produce a "Wow" effect.
What started as a fun display for the kids [and possibly a "battle" between the brother-in-law from across the street] turned into hours of work getting the lights on the rooftop. He's already thinking of what he can do next year by running lights down his roof. "I spent a good three days on it and everyday I would tweak something," said Joe Cinque. The good news for the Cinque family -- they can be in the running to win next year.
Third place was presented to the Manganelli family at 6 Whitney Drive for their "classic" and professional level display. "I like to do this because it cheers me up," said Mickey Manganelli. He credits his dad for this tradition. As a kid, he remembers his dad decorating their Berkeley Heights home. -- And now, his hobby has exploded into a talent that is in high demand. He had helped a friend install their lights over the summer and through word of mouth, he found himself busy installing lights on 11 homes this season.
New this year, the businesses were in the act and three businesses were awarded for going above and beyond the "Bright Nights" theme to decorate their storefronts with white lights, big red ribbons and holiday greens to help transform the downtown business district into a festive holiday scene.
Business winners include:
1st place - Marcello's Italian Ristorante
2nd place - Berkeley Hardware & Paint
3rd place - Sublime Salon and Day Spa
The Battle of the Bulbs contest is sponsored by the following Berkeley Heights Business and Civic Community members: Smith Chiropractic, Taylor Rental Center, TAPinto Berkeley Heights, Liss Printing, Cruise Planner - Nish Verma, The Liberty Group, GRA Architecture, Anything Floral, Fit Forever, Delicious Heights, JAG One Physical Therapy, and Investors Bank.