The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY DENISE PIKE dpike@cb­n­com­

Judges for the na­tional Win­terlights com­pe­ti­tions vis­ited Con­cep­tion Bay North’s two largest towns last week and went away de­lighted with what they saw. The towns will find out just how im­pressed the judges were in March when the win­ners are an­nounced.

The judg­ing is com­plete and now the Bay Roberts Spe­cial Events Com­mit­tee and the Carbonear town coun­cil will have to wait pa­tiently un­til re­sults of the na­tional Win­terLights Cel­e­bra­tions Com­pe­ti­tion are an­nounced next March in Prince Ed­ward Is­land.

Com­pe­ti­tion judges Odette Sabourin-Du­mais from St-Bruno Que­bec and Ted Zarudny, Orangeville, On­tario spent a cou­ple of days in Bay Roberts and Carbonear last week meet­ing lo­cal of­fi­cials and tak­ing in the sites as they car­ried out the judg­ing in both CBN towns.

The pair are among five sets of judges from Win­terLights Cel­e­bra­tions 2009-2010 who are criss-cross­ing the coun­try vis­it­ing par­tic­i­pat­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

The Win­terLights cel­e­bra­tion, the win­ter edi­tion of Com­mu­ni­ties in Bloom, is a na­tional pro­gram fo­cussed on com­mu­nity ef­forts that sus­tain and pro­mote en­vi­ron­men­tal, vis­ual and eco­nomic pro­grams through­out the win­ter months, with spe­cial at­ten­tion to com­mu­nity in­volve­ment and out­reach. The pro­gram en­cour­ages Cana­di­ans to join their lo­cal com­mu­nity events and ac­tiv­i­ties and to ex­pe­ri­ence the beauty and thrill of win­ter.

Bay Roberts is com­pet­ing against the city of Strat­ford On­tario in the Cir­cle of Ex­cel­lence cat­e­gory.

Carbonear is com­pet­ing in the 5,000 plus pop­u­la­tion sec­tion against sev­eral other towns in­clud- ing Barrie, Brampton and Kingston, in On­tario, Kam­loops and Prince Ge­orge, Bri­tish Columbia and Hal­i­fax, Nova Sco­tia.

Sabourin-Du­mais and Zarudny were the guests of hon­our at a lunch re­cep­tion hosted at the Bay Roberts Pavil­ion Mon­day, Dec. 14. The event spon­sored by the Bay Roberts Spe­cial Events Com­mit­tee and town coun­cil, gave the judges an op­por­tu­nity to meet and chat with key peo­ple from the com­mu­nity as they worked to grade the town on a host of cri­te­ria in­clud­ing vis­ual pre­sen­ta­tion, win­ter plea­sures, fes­tive sea­son cel­e­bra­tions, good will pro­grams and tourism/pro­mo­tional ini­tia­tives.

The Cir­cle of Ex­cel­lence cat­e­gory is the most pres­ti­gious level which a com­mu­nity can achieve within the Win­terLights Cel­e­bra­tions pro­gram. In or­der to reach the Cir­cle of Ex­cel­lence cat­e­gory, a com­mu­nity must first win in their pop­u­la­tion cat­e­gory, then win the Win­ners Cir­cle cat­e­gory, be­fore en­ter­ing into the Cir­cle of Ex­cel­lence.

Bay Roberts won the Pop­u­la­tion cat­e­gory in 2005 and the Win­ner Cir­cle in 2007.

As the name of the com­pe­ti­tion sug­gests, win­ter light dis­plays are a key part of the pro­gram.

For a num­ber of years Bay Roberts has been wow­ing vis­i­tors and res­i­dents alike with spec­tac­u­lar and colour­ful light dis­plays on res­i­dents homes and at the Il­lu­mi­na­tion Park lo­cated at the Wil­bur Sparkes Recre­ation Com­plex.

While in Bay Roberts Sabour­inDu­mais and Zarudny vis­ited the Help­ing Hand Food Bank, Co­ley’s Point Ele­men­tary, Church of Lat­ter Day Saints and a num­ber of other places.

Both were im­pressed with the hos­pi­tal­ity of the peo­ple they met.

“ We re­ally en­joyed our time here,” said Zarudny, “ I’ve been to the prov­ince a num­ber of times, but this is my first time in Bay Roberts. The scenery here is in­cred­i­ble. Wher­ever you go in town there’s a beau­ti­ful view of the ocean.”

The com­mu­nity spirit also im­pressed the judges.

“ There’s a lot of things hap­pen­ing around town and it is re­ally ev­i­dent,” said Sabourin-Du­mais. “As we went from place to place we could feel the warmth and pride that peo­ple have for the town. There are many ac­tiv­i­ties and events tak­ing place on a reg­u­lar ba­sis here and peo­ple seem to re­ally care about each other. That’s what the com­pe­ti­tion is all about, It’s all about com­mu­nity.”

WARM WEL­COME - Win­terLights judges Odette Sabourin-Du­mais, Que­bec and Ted Zarudny, Orangeville, On­tario, were the guests of hon­our at a lunch re­cep­tion hosted at the Bay Roberts Pavil­ion Mon­day, Dec. 14.

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