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Hotel Madison Hosting Holiday Cheer With Community Creativity
By KATHLEEN SHAW
Daily News-Record 11/21/20
Hotel Madison is sharing the magic of the holidays with Harrisonburg this year with its first-ever Christmas tree decorating contest.
From Dec. 6 through Jan. 15, the lobby inside Hotel Madison will transform into a wintry wonderland as businesses and organizations within the community dedicate individually dressed trees for the contest.
Each year, the hotel’s foyer puts up a delicate tree alongside the staircase with ribbons, bows in purple, tan and gold. Marketing manager Kimberly Rhodes said the hotel wanted to dedicate a celebration for the city in wake of most events such as the Holiday Parade being canceled and businesses struggling.
“Hopefully, with businesses being limited with guest interaction or even being closed, we thought this would be a good way to get a presence out there for them,” Rhodes said.
Participating groups must send their team of decorating elves to the hotel to set up an artificial tree, no more than 10-feet tall, before Dec. 6.
Once all the trees are up in their final splendor, hotel guests and community members can vote for first, second and third place until Jan. 16. The grand prize is a two-night stay in Hotel Madison’s Presidential Suite and dinner for two at the Montpelier Restaurant & Bar.
Sara Wittig, director of marketing for Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, has spent the past several evenings making ornaments alongside her daughter, Charleigh, for the organization’s Hotel Madison tree. Making over 708 ornaments to represent each chamber member is an all-handson-deck situation, but Wittig said the chamber staff loves the holidays and is eager to join the tree trimming contest.
“It is definitely a community strong event for the chamber,” she said. “We want to represent each of those businesses and show our love.”
Registration caps at 20 participating businesses. Other competing groups registered as of Friday included the Harrisonburg- Rockingham County SPCA, Green Hummingbird Fair Trade Clothing, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Child Day Care Center, On Sunny Slope Farm, Harrisonburg-Rockingham Chamber of Commerce, Salvation Army Harrisonburg Corps and Matchbox Realty.
Rhodes said if the event is successful, the contest will be developed into a larger event after the pandemic.
While Wittig said she would love to dress up a fancifully garnished tree in future years if the event continues, chamber staff thought it best to dedicate their tree to the businesses and organizations standing strong against a challenging year.
Executive Director of Harrisonburg- Rockingham Child Day Care Center Delores Jameson said the organization is planning to trim its tree with celebratory ornaments to recognize next year’s milestone of providing childcare locally for 50 years. Onlookers may also see shimmering stars of the organization’s annual fundraiser, Dancing with the Stars of the ‘Burg.
“When I heard of it, I thought that’s so neat, and I’m looking forward to it,” Jameson said. “I love Christmas, and I just think it’ll be something interesting.
... We’re gonna be creative.”
Jameson said she was able to see the spectacular display of holiday trees at Hotel Roanoke in past years and anticipates similar splendor at Hotel Madison next month.
“I’m actually very excited to be a part of it,” she said.
Guests will be able to vote via text by messaging their top picks to 31966 or by dropping handwritten votes into a ballot box in the lobby.
Registration for the Christmas tree decorating contest closes Wednesday. To participate, interested parties can contact Rhodes at email@example.com.