New Hampshire ATOs shine bright

4 December

Every angle of Alpha Tau Omega’s large white house on Main Street in Durham was glowing with white Christmas lights last night. ATO brothers Luke Archer and Sam Riga stood outside offering doughnuts and hot cider to the six judges who had come to judge their lighting arrangement, praying a fuse wouldn’t blow. The brothers said setting up the lights had taken weeks.

Ken Barrows, who has been judging the Lighting Contest of Light Up Durham for 12 years, stood on the street looking at the house before writing on his clipboard.

“ATO is usually the house to beat,” said Barrows.

The 14th annual Light Contest held every year between the Greeks and local Durham businesses was judged last night. Eighteen businesses and 13 Greek houses participated in the contest. The object of the lighting contest is simple: whoever has the best, most Christmas lights covering their business or house wins.

This year there were three categories – fraternities, sororities, and downtown businesses. Of the fraternities, ATO won first place, Alpha Gamma Rho, second and Sigma Nu, third. Kappa Delta took first place of the sororities, Alpha Phi, second and Alpha Chi Omega took third. Chi Omega sororities earned a special category, “Best Come Back,” because their lights were stolen the day before the contest but they still had lights up Thursday night.

The winners will be officially announced tomorrow in front of Young’s Restaurant and the various place holders will be recognized at 5:30 p.m. tonight.

Light Up Durham is organized by a subset committee of the Durham Business Association. The judges this year consisted of DBA members, Durham residents and a UNH staff member from Greek Life, Adam Mccready. Barrows is the assistant director of MUB operations who the other judges call the “veteran judge.” Johanna Knight, chair of DBA, Katie Muth, DBA director, Lory Roy, DBA treasure, and Claire Powell, a Durham resident were also judges.

The judging criteria included the effectiveness of lights creating the display, the placement and uniformity of the lights, the use of design and color to create the decorations, the use of special lighted displays and the ingenuity, originality, and creativity exercised in the decorations.

The six judges wandered around Thursday evening for an hour in half down Main Street, up Young Drive, down Strafford Lane and into Mill Plaza to judge Greek houses and downtown businesses.Fraternity and sorority members stood outside their houses waiting for the judges to come by with their clipboards.

Roy and the other judges said they appreciated all qualified and unqualified participation though because the event was really about community.

“This is a real good community event,” said Barrows. “We hope the students appreciate it and remain involved.”

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