Rees Jewelry and friends of the Rees Family announce the 2016 Bert Rees Lighting Contest. The contest, which was named for SFA art professor, jeweler and Christmas light enthusiast Bert Rees in 2010, encourages residents of Nacogdoches County to celebrate the holiday season by entering a photo of their outdoor lighting display. Entries will be accepted online via the Bert Rees Lighting Contest Facebook page (http://tinyurl.com/naclights16) or via Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #NacLights2016, through December 20.
This year's contest will feature a People's Choice winner as well as a Judge's Choice. Cash prizes of $150 for first place and People's Choice, $100 for second place and $75 for third place each are being sponsored by Rees Jewelry, the business owned by Rees' widow, Charlene Rees.
"We are happy to once again be able to sponsor the prizes for the Bert Rees Lighting Contest," said Charlene Rees. "Bert loved Christmas lights and he was so proud to have the contest named for him before he passed away in 2011."
Rees began decorating his family home in San Antonio in 1940. That year, he covered the roof of his family's home in white fabric to simulate snow. Each year, his Christmas displays grew more elaborate. When he moved to Nacogdoches to accept a position as an art professor at SFA, he brought his love of Christmas decorating with him. Over the years, his home on Rusk Street was adorned with handmade Christmas displays.According to Rees' daughter Chana Garrett of Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia, her dad decorated by the motto "You can never have too many Christmas lights."
"My dad hand painted every decoration and wanted each strand of light to be perfectly placed, but he got excited seeing lights all over town," said Garrett. "We will be providing an online map to houses that enter for the public to use to look at lights."
In a 1987 story in The Daily Sentinel on the Rees family home at Christmas, Bert Rees said: "No matter what you do, or how little you do, I like to see it. If everybody put up just one string of lights over their door, well it would look pretty, wouldn't it?"The Rees family is hopeful that people will enter the contest or nominate neighbors and friends. The public can vote for the People's Choice Award online. Voting will continue online via the Facebook page through December 22, 2016. One vote per IP address or device per day. Winners will be announced on December 23."Our goal is to encourage people to light up Nacogdoches. For many years a fun family activity was to drive around town, listening to Christmas music and looking at lights. We want to encourage that again. For the past 5 years, the prize money has been provided by Rees Jewelry and friends and family of Bert Rees. We are glad to bring it back this year," said Runnels.For more information about this event, please visit the Bert Rees Lighting Contest Facebook page or email Chay Runnels at NacLights@gmail.com