SIDNEY — For many years, city employees have gotten into the Christmas spirit by decorating the doors to their respective departments. Then, at 5 p.m. prior to the December City Council Meeting, the mayor judges the doors and declares a winner. The winning department receives a pizza party.
This year, a number of departments participated in the Christmas Door Decorating Contest. A little ahead of schedule, Mayor Mike Barhorst traveled between Fire Station 1, the Police Department, the Service Center and City Hall, judged the doors, and returned to his office to tally the scores.
“The doors seem to get better and better every year,” Barhorst said. “The first stop was the Sidney Fire Department, and as soon as I saw their door, knew that they would be the door to beat – it was that good!”
“The Fire Department’s door was ultimately defeated by another door that included a home with a crackling fire – I found the situation ironic, to say the least,” Barhorst quipped.
“Once again this year, the department that decorated their door with the most rapidity was Information Technology,” Barhorst said. “They did not start decorating their door until just before judging began, and when I arrived to judge their door about 5:40 p.m., the door was finished.
“The theme this year was ‘Santa’s Sleigh.’ Revenue Collection, who has won first place for the past two years, faced stiffer competition this year, and tied for fourth place this year,” Barhorst stated.
“Finishing in first place with a perfect score was the door to the office of the utility director. The door included a cutaway view of a home, a fire crackling in the fireplace, stockings hung from the mantle, and Santa and his sleigh overhead, about to land on the roof,” Barhorst said. “There was also a child’s antique rocking chair and a miniature decorated tree near the fireplace, completing the scene.”
Finishing a close second with just one point separating first from second place was the door for water distribution. In addition to the decorated door, Santa was in his sleigh, his bag filled with work gloves, a hard hat, safety gear and a City tee shirt, and the sled was being pulled by a team of pink flamingos!
A sign on Santa’s sleigh detailed that “Due to the recent Ohio deer hunting season we regretfully have no reindeer to pull Santa’s sleigh therefore the sled pulling duties have been outsourced to a flock of flamingos. Sorry for any loss of Christmas Cheer. Santa.” There was also a clipboard with a map of Sidney mounted to the sleigh, a handy reference for Santa’s use.
And, finishing in third place with just one point separating second and third place was the door at Fire Department Station 1. That door included the Grinch in a sleigh headed toward Whoville, his faithful dog Max riding along behind with an antler strapped to his head.
The doors at Revenue Collections and Information Technology tied for fourth place. All doors were judged on the criteria of originality, theme, creativity, use of materials, quality of construction, visual appeal and special effects.
“We receive a number of very positive comments from citizens who visit the building,” Human Resources Manager Vicki Allen said, “and the employees enjoy participating. It is a morale booster.”
The project was originally the suggestion of the Employee Activity Committee many years ago. Although the committee is no longer active, the door decorating contest has continued.
The prize money for the pizza party is contributed each year by thecity manager, the assistant city manager and the human resources manager.