A friendly competition to determine which area home or business has the best Christmas lights will also allow less-fortunate children to have a better Christmas this year.

The inaugural Lights Around London Christmas Light Driving Tour runs from December 5 through the 31st. The competition will be judged by an independent panel and the public. Judges will determine the Classic Christmas, Single Best Decoration and other awards.

The Griswold Traveling Trophy will be determined by crowd votes of $1, with all the proceeds going to Shop with a Cop of Laurel County.

“Since this is a fundraiser for Shop With a Cop benefiting London-Laurel County, we encourage people to get excited about voting as much as possible,” said Chris Robinson, executive director of the City of London Tourism commission. “Most everyone loves Christmas lights and a friendly competition. We hope this becomes a tradition to be enjoyed each year.”

This fun, socially distanced event is a collaboration of the City of London Tourism, London-Laurel County Tourist Commission, and the London-Laurel Chamber of Commerce. The organizers are thrilled that 60 participants have signed up for the inaugural tour.

The London resident who proposed the idea of a Christmas light driving tour said it’s a natural supplement to the beautiful lights the City of London installs each year, while allowing a positive and safe event during the COVID pandemic.

“I’m one of five kids, so I’m trying to compete with my brothers and brother-in-law to see who has the best Christmas lights,” said London architectural designer David Zawko. “That’s our Clark Griswold competition. Then I thought it would be fun for the whole city to have a friendly competition and do something really positive and safe during COVID.”

Zawko said he’s been putting up lights around his home for several weeks and is doing his part to spur the competition. The lights on his home are clearly visible while driving along Hampton Road in London.

“I’ve gotten my neighbors into the act and they’ve become my main competition,” he laughed. “We want people to have a positive holiday season and make our town as attractive as possible.”

There will be two ways to vote to determine the Griswold Traveling Trophy winner and to donate to Shop with a Cop. People can vote digitally via the secure Venmo app at @ShopCopLondonKY. The funds will go directly to their account. Voters can place their votes in the comment section of the transaction.

Venmo is easy to use and there are no fees associated with the transaction, so all proceeds will go to Shop With a Cop.

Voters can also vote with cash or check via the London City Hall drive thru during business hours at 501 S. Main St. Please have exact change and place it in an envelope with the participant number clearly marked. Checks should be issued to Shop with a Cop.

Tour information can be downloaded at www.lightsaroundlondon.com.

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