Downtown Wilmington businesses compete for best decorations is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Christmas trees at Chandlers Wharf.
Christmas trees at Chandlers Wharf.

WILMINGTON — A walk through Historic Downtown Wilmington will be a little merrier this month thanks to a holiday decorating contest organized by the Downtown Business Alliance (DBA).

Fifty-eight businesses are taking part in this year’s contest, which is defined as a “good-natured competition” in a press release from the association.

“The purpose of the annual Holiday Decorating Contest is to create a festive atmosphere to capture the imagination of area shoppers and visitors,” the release states.

The district-wide display includes storefront windows, atriums and even entire buildings. The entries span Downtown’s historic core, from the Cotton Exchange to Chandler’s Wharf to Castle Street and to the Brooklyn Arts District’s North 4th Street. 

Participating businesses include:  A Christmas Shoppe, Aluna Works, Bloke Clothing and Apparel, Decades of Décor, Platypus and Gnome, The Children’s Museum of Wilmington and Wilmington Wine.

Prizes are available in two categories. The first category is a juried award that will be announced at the ribbon cutting for the annual Jolly Holiday Stroll on Friday, Dec. 9, at 4:30 p.m.

In addition to bragging rights, the first place prize for the juried contest includes $100 donated by the DBA, as well as a handcrafted wooden plaque by Kids Making It. 

The second place winner will receive a $50 gift certificate from the Copper Penny Restaurant. The third place winner will receive a $25 gift certificate from Occasions Just Right. 

A group of anonymous judges will review the displays on Monday, Dec. 5, in chauffeur-driven vehicles provided by Audi Cape Fear.  The judges will evaluate the contestants based on creativity, originality, “wow” factor, and holiday spirit. 

The second category is the People’s Choice award, for which online voting begins on the night of the stroll and runs through midnight on Dec. 11. But, there is no need to wait to see the windows.  Residents and visitors can download a list of all the participating businesses at if they want to view the windows during the week leading up to the Jolly Holiday Stroll.

The People’s Choice Award winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to Art in Bloom Gallery with second place receiving a $50 gift certificate from Copper Penny Restaurant.

People’s Choice voting will also take place at

“The creativity and originality of the merchants participating in the window decoration contest is always inspiring,” said Amy Grant, event coordinator and owner of Art in Bloom Gallery.  “The contest brings people together in the spirit of the holidays and is a great family activity that everyone can enjoy.”