Local radio and TV personality Pat O' Melia is holding his "Fourth Annual Best Christmas Decorated Home Contest," which is also sponsored by Mayor Jerramiah Healy and the City of Jersey City.
The goal of the contest is to choose the three homes in Jersey City with the best Christmas exteriors.
The owners of the winning homes will each receive a $500 check and a $500 shopping spree at Home Depot on Route 440, at a ceremony later this month.
O'Melia said he and a small crew will drive through Jersey City neighborhoods starting this weekend and continue until this Saturday, Dec. 15.
They will be videotaping houses with outstanding Christmas decorations to air on a future episode of O'Melia's cable access show.
Then, 30 homes will be chosen, to be whittled down by judges to the final three.
O'Melia said he requests that residents leave their Christmas lights on until midnight, as he will be shooting between 6 p.m. and midnight. He also said he will be looking for homes that are colorful and not decorated "too much."
Homeowners should be careful not to cover their address number.
If you want your home to take part in the contest, call O'Melia's office at (201) 963-6700 or the Mayor's Office at (201) 547-5200, or visit www.patsshows.com by this Friday, Dec. 14 to leave your address and name.
Santa Claus and Mary Poppins together
At the Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre at 54 Journal Square, kids can take photos with the jolly old man in the red suit on Saturday, Dec. 15 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event is open to the public, including pets and owners, who are asked to come between 2:20 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
A digital photo is just $3, but bring a new, unwrapped toy for a needy child and the photo will be free.
Also, every child that comes to see Santa will receive a coupon for $1 off the cost of a child's admission to that evening's screening of "Mary Poppins" at the historic theater.
Santa's appearance is part of a holiday film weekend: on Friday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m., the Loew's will present a 60th anniversary screening of "Miracle On 34th Street," starring Edmund Gwenn, Maureen O'Hara, and Natalie Wood (1947, Black and White, 96 minutes).
Before Friday's screening, the organ at the Loew's, which is undergoing restoration, will provide traditional "entrance" music as people enter the auditorium, and be used for a short "singalong," for which printed lyrics will be given to audience members.
On Saturday, Dec. 15 at 6 p.m., the Loew's will present "Mary Poppins," starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke (1964, Color, 140 minutes).
Each screening is $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and children 12 and under. Combination discounts are available for multiple screenings. For more information, call (201) 798-6055 or visit www.loewsjersey.org.
Santa will make other stops in Hudson County, sponsored by developer Orlando Bru.
Santa will take pictures with the public on Sunday, Dec. 16 at the HUB Plaza on Martin Luther King Drive from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Journal Square from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (201) 865-0383. Tree trimming, Kwanzaa celebration
There will be some events either sponsored or part of collaboration with City Hall this month open to the public.
Among them is the Fourth Annual Christmas Trim-A-Tree Ceremony at Dr. Ercel Webb Park on Lafayette Street in Jersey City, which will be held on Friday, Dec. 14 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The ceremony is in collaboration with the Communipaw Avenue Block Association.
Also, on Thursday, Dec. 27, the city's annual Kwanzaa celebration will be held in City Hall Council Chambers, 280 Grove St., second floor, from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Kwanzaa is a week-long festival primarily honoring African-American heritage from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, where activities such as candle-lighting take place culminating in a feast and gift-giving.
For more information, call the Division of Cultural Affairs at (201) 547-6921. Donate coats and toys for girls and boys
The Jersey City Police Department, East District, will hold their 13th Annual Children's Christmas Party on Saturday, Dec.15 at School 4 located on Bright and Grand streets, from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.
The East District will be accepting unwrapped children's toys and donations until Dec. 14. Donors can drop off gifts at the East District, 207 Seventh St., or make pick-up arrangements through police officer Dina Reilly at (201) 547-5470, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. After hours, contact police officer Frank Molina at (201) 481-7673.
Donations can be made by check to "East District Toy Drive." The Miller Branch of the Jersey City Public Library, located at 489 Bergen Ave., promotes "Drop-off @ Miller" during the holiday season, in which the public can donate an unwrapped toy or book until Saturday, Dec. 22.
Also, the Hudson County Animal League is partnering with Hudson Mall on Route 440 for the Coats for Kids program. Mall visitors are encouraged to donate gently used children's coats and jackets by dropping them off in the red gift box at the mall entrance. And shoppers at the mall will see that the Salvation Army has an Angel Tree on display with gift tags providing information on a needy child. Shoppers can bring a wrapped gift and leave it at the tree.
The Coats for Kids box and the Angel Tree will be at the mall through Thursday, Dec. 20. Civic organization holiday parties
Several civic organizations are having their own public holiday gatherings.
The Riverview Neighborhood Association will be holding their Annual Holiday Party on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Harbor View Health Center, 178 Ogden Ave. in the first floor cafeteria. The event is free and all are welcome. For more information, call (201) 876-1980.
Partners in Prevention will be holding their Community Partnership Christmas Breakfast Meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. at Brownstone Diner, located on the corner of Grand Street and Jersey Avenue. Guests are asked to pay for their own bill and to bring a $5 grab bag gift. Partners in Prevention, located at 309-311 Newark Ave. in Jersey City, is a non-governmental, county-wide organization that serves as a substance abuse prevention resource center. For more information, call (201) 725-1756.
And there's the Pershing Field Garden Friends' Fifth Annual Holiday Tricky Tray Fund-Raising Dinner, Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. The dinner will be held at Gino's Restaurant, 380 Central Ave. It is a four-course dinner at $35 per adult/ $15 per child. Check for dinner is payable to: PFGF, P.O. Box 17180, Jersey City, NJ 07307. Reservation and check must be received by Dec. 10. For more information, call Laura Skolar at (201) 259-1800.
Also on Dec. 18 at 7 p.m., the Jimmy King Civic Association will hold its annual Christmas party during their monthly meeting at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 440 Hoboken Ave. Transportation is provided by calling (201) 963-1383. Attendees are asked not to bring children under 18 for the monthly meeting, and to bring new toys and infant supplies for the association's Christmas drive.
On Saturday, Dec. 22, the Sunday school of St. John's Lutheran Church, 155 North St. will hold their Christmas party from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is $1. For more information, call (201) 798-0540. Women's group needs holiday help
WomenRising, formerly the YWCA of Hudson County, based at Fairmount Avenue in Jersey City, is an organization assisting women and their families to achieve self-sufficiency.
The organization is asking for the public's help in their work during the holidays in several ways: a donation of a generous year-end gift to WomenRising; a gift donation to WomenRising in someone's name, and shopping at online vendor websites igive (www.igive.com/womenrising), Goodsearch (www.goodsearch.com) and GoodShop (www.GoodShop.com) where proceeds from purchases will go towards WomenRising.
For more information, call (201) 333-5700 or visit www.womenrising.org. Free rides for kids on NY Waterway
The NY Waterway ferry service is celebrating the holidays by enabling children ages 12 and under to ride for free on the commuter ferries until Jan. 6.
Santa Claus will be visiting the terminals and riding the ferries to greet the youngsters. The NY Waterway terminals in Jersey City are Paulus Hook on Hudson Street, Newport at River Court, Liberty Harbor on Marin Blvd., and Port Liberte on Chapel Avenue.
NY Waterway is also conducting a sweepstakes to win four free tickets to the Radio City Music Hall's "Christmas Spectacular" on Dec. 21.
Also, NY Waterway passengers who take the ferry to select shows of the "Christmas Spectacular" will receive a $7 discount on their tickets through Dec. 14. There are also discounted tickets to see the Broadway show, "The Grinch," with free round-trip ferry tickets with the purchase.
For the "Christmas Spectacular," use the code NYWTR and visit radiocity.com or call Ticketmaster at (212) 307-1000. To enter the grand prize sweepstakes, email your name, address, email, and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org. For tickets to "The Grinch," call (212) 947 -8844 or go to broadwayoffers.com and use the code GRNYWAY.
For more information and schedules, call (800) 53-FERRY or visit www.nywaterway.com. Comments on this story can be sent to email@example.com