SOMERS, N.Y. - With the goal of bringing joy and cheer throughout the town, the Somers Lions Club continued the tradition of “Illuminating Somers” in 2016.

Started in 2014, this Somers holiday marvel was presented as a friendly outdoor home decorating competition to the Board of the Somers Lions Club by Lion Herb Reimann—lovingly known as “The Herbinator.” Reimann’s big heart was set on giving back to the community, giving thanks for their support of the Lions Club throughout the year. He wanted to give his fellow Somers residents the opportunity to share their dedication and talent for expressing the holiday through “illumination,” and, most of all, fun!

For 2016, the Somers Lions worked on expanding the concept of “illumination.”

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First, the competition was open to light displays inside the house. This year, picture submissions were received featuring everything from trees, mantles and beautifully lighted rooms to gingerbread houses, table centerpieces and even family pets. Any and all “illuminated” holiday expressions of wonder were accepted.

Second, with great pride, the Somers Lions continue to grow their dedication to the town by introducing the Somers Parade of Lights. Armed with an interactive map to follow, residents were invited to join in on the judging portion of the outdoor home decorating competition. The 18 carloads who gathered in the Somers High School parking lot for the parade were all offered hot chocolate and glow sticks, to warm their bellies and illuminate their car, on the cold December night.

Driving around town previewing local talent and passionate home adornments embellishing family abodes tickled in delight. Light viewing has become a highlight for many during the holiday season and many towns have really beautified their town with the holiday spirit. One long-time Somers resident who participated said, “I thought it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed going to bits of the town I have not seen in a while. Additionally, I do believe we ventured on one road I have never been on in the 44 years of living here. Great fun! Will participate again next year. Plus... next year I will enter.”

A link to the interactive map, which tallied over 2,300 views as of the competition close, as well as a video of many of the homes, can be found on the IlluminateSomers.com website.

Lastly, as a final addition to Illuminate Somers, it felt in the holiday spirit to offer residents the ability to illuminate any charity that was close to them. “We Serve,” is the motto of the Lions Club—and it is our goal to serve these charities by shedding some light on them and providing easy links to donate in the name of Somers. Each illuminated charity we received is listed on IlluminateSomers.com with an easy link to their donation page.

This past year, the Somers Lions Club celebrated its 50th year since its founding. Throughout the years, the Lions have dedicated themselves to bringing delight and wonder to the town, including annual Somers events such as the Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration, the Pancake Breakfast, the Carnival and the Tree Lighting Ceremony—just to name a few. As the holidays start to become a memory, the 120-plus adult men and women of the Somers Lions Club, plus the 200-plus high school Leos (Lions Club for students), all want to say thank you for helping add Illuminate Somers and the Parade of Lights to this list, and for illuminating our lives and making us beam with pride. Please smile with us in congratulating the 2016 winners and honorable mentions.

Illuminate Somers Outdoor Home Decorating Competition Winners:

  • First Place: No. 6, Errol and Christina Ruschil of Autumn Ridge Court in Twin Knolls
  • Second Place: No. 20, John and Dana Ruggiero of Sunderland Lane
  • Third Place: No. 112, Gallino family of Lakewood Drive, illuminating Blythedale Children’s Hospital
  • Honorable Mentions: No. 13, Billingsley Real Estate office; No. 124, Delzio family, and No. 7, Primiano family for Friends of Karen; No. 123, Guyot family for Blythedale Children’s Hospital; No. 1, Evans family for Toys for Tots; No. 114, Kaminski family; No. 83, Mooren family for Somers Angels; No. 2, Ondrovic family; and the majority of the Shenorock area community, including No. 4, Donnelly family, No. 5, Iannuzzi family, and No. 59, Brightest and Flashiest Illumination in Somers.

Illuminate Somers Indoor Home Decorating Competition Winners:

  • First Place: Ruggiero family
  • Second Place: Zimmermann family
  • Third Place: Bambach family, illuminating Friends of Karen
  • Honorable Mentions: Elezaj family for Blythedale Children’s Hospital; Rinaldi Family; Reimann Family; No. 24 Somers Diner for Toys for Tots; Tremblay family, illuminating Guiding Eyes for the Blind; and Zeitchick family.

The numbers above match the numbers you will find on the interactive map. All participants will receive a Somers Discount Card for each family member and a Lens Kit Set. Winners will receive a combination of Somers area gift cards and new holiday lights, to help illuminate even brighter next year.

After driving around town and viewing the photos on IlluminateSomers.com it is very easy to be proud of Somers. We rejoice in the joy of “Illuminate Somers” and we hope you will join us next year in making Somers the most illuminated town in Westchester.

Jason Klatsky is a member of the Somers Lions Club.