Christmas in Diamond Bar means bright lights, faux snow, and characters that capture the spirit of the holiday.
The three winners of the city's 5th annual Holiday Home Decorating Contest had all of that and more this year, earning them high praise and recognition yard signs posted on their lawns.
Mark Martinez and his family earned the Best Holiday Spirit Award.
Martinez, who lives at 23564 Jubilee Lane, said he has been entering the contest
for the past five years. His son Mark, who is now 13, helps him with
the display. This is the family's first win.
"We just wanted to put everybody in the holiday spirit," Martinez said of the display.
Martinez and son put a variety of characters on their front lawn from dogs having their own Christmas to Winnie the Pooh and Tigger snacking on the contents of a honey pot to Sponge Bob.
He recalled his dad taking him to a neighborhood in Pasadena as a child to see the decorated homes. Those experiences stayed with him, and now he is one of the houses others come to see.
"I don't know why. I just always kind of took to that," he said. "It puts me in the spirit."
Patty Knoll, who decorated her home at 24011 Highcrest with boyfriend Roger Schroeder, won for best use of theme.
Knoll said while she enjoys getting the house all decked out inside and
outside for Christmas, Schroeder loves it, with no light left
unturned...on that is. She compared him to Chevy's Chase's character in a popular National Lampoon Christmas movie.
"He's Mr. Griswold from 'Christmas Vacation," she said.
Knoll said this was the third time she had entered the contest and her first win. Her theme was winter wonderland, a store front window set up with Santa Claus looking out on the scene outside.
"All of our friends enjoy coming over and all of our family," Knoll said. "We like the fact that we can bring joy to everybody. That's what Christmas is all about."
Tom Monk and Family are helping get their neighborhood in
the Christmas spirit. Monk's home, located at 1041 Farel Ave., won the
Most Innovative Award this year.
Monk is a third-time winner, previously earning awards for most energy efficient, first place, and best neighborhood display, second place.
Those who drive by Monk's home can not only see his decorations, but they can watch a light show to the tune of holiday music by turning on 90.5 FM radio.
20-minute shows run hourly on the weekends from 5 p.m. to midnight. The
computer runs the lights, with controllers st up that talk to each other through live cables, he said.
"I figured that's innovative," he said. "That's using the technology of computers."
Monk said he often saw similar light shows in the Midwest but only in the last three of fours years has he noticed them growing in popularity here.
His six-year-old daughter gets a kick out of it.
"I've always loved electronics and technology," he said. "My daughter loves it and just to see her enjoy it makes me happy."