Vineland Holiday Tree Contest Winners Announced

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Photo courtesy of Samuel Levy.

The Holiday Tree Contest is a partnership between Main Street Vineland and Vineland Public Schools, individuals and groups can add ornaments to CommUNITY Tree through January 6th.

VINELAND, N.J. - Main Street Vineland announced the winners of the Holiday Tree Contest at its CommUNITY Tree Event on Monday at the southwest mini-park in downtown Vineland.

Over 100 students from Vineland Public Schools set up 10-holiday trees last month in downtown Vineland storefronts. The public then voted for their favorite via paper ballots or online in select downtown businesses.

The Holiday Tree Contest, first conceived by John and Denise Procopio seven years ago, was taken over this year by Vineland Public School teacher Shonda Johnston. The purpose of the contest has been to bring students and the community closer together through the establishment of youth programs that will, in turn, build a stronger relationship between our school district and local businesses.

According to Johnston, this year the contest takes on added significance.

“It enhances the rebranding of our beloved Landis Avenue and further establishes the interconnectedness of our amazing community forged with unity and diversity,” said Johnston.

At the end, 2,547 total votes were tallied. The winners were as follows:

Photo courtesy of Samuel Levy.

First Place: The Spot, 618 E. Landis Ave. (Dr. John H. Winslow Elementary School—Andrea Amos with Sign Language Club)

Photo courtesy of Samuel Levy.

Second Place: L & M Tax Service, 649 E. Landis Ave. (Dr. William Mennies Elementary School—Karen Kreck and Cherie Gannon with students)

Photo courtesy of Samuel Levy.

Third Place: Friends & Family Diner, 601 E. Landis Ave. (Thomas W. Wallace, Jr. Intermediate School—Sandy Carberry and Debra Fagon with art students)

"I want to thank all the school that participated, the businesses that worked with us by having the trees grace their storefronts, and Shonda for helping to coordinate the whole project,” said Main Street Vineland Executive Director Russell Swanson. "It’s a true community effort that brings a true sense of holiday spirit to The Ave.”

The CommUNITY Tree Event, at which the winners were announced, was another event coordinated by Johnston.

Members of the community from various clubs and civic organizations, as well as people from a variety of demographic group and faiths, came to the southwest mini-park in downtown Vineland and brought ornaments to hang on the CommUNITY Tree. The tree was then lit to show to all the spirit of unity and inclusiveness.”

“This is an event that has been taking place around the country and—as CommUNITY implies—it is meant to be a project of unity that will bring people of beliefs, faiths, and creeds together during this time of togetherness,” Johnston said.

Johnston explained that this tradition started when the first Community Christmas tree was raised in New York’s Madison Square Park. Since then, the idea has been adopted by cities and towns across the country.

“In this time of polarization and divisiveness, this event brought together people of beliefs, faiths, and creeds during this time of togetherness,” Johnston said.

The tree will be up through January 6, at the southwest mini-park at Landis Avenue and the boulevard, for those individuals or groups to add ornaments, but could not be present for Monday evening’s event.  

“We are from different cultures, ethnicities, faiths, political beliefs, and backgrounds,” he said. In the end, however, we are a community and events such as this emphasize that during this special time of year. My thanks go out to all who came out to show that we all are proud Vinelanders,” said Swanson.