From Seacoast Online (Portsmouth, NH)
WELLS – It’s time to dig into the closet for those sweaters you thought you’d never see again, or take a trip to the second-hand store: a 42-inch TV and Guinness World Record are on the line.
On Sunday, Dec. 11, those who think they have the best “ugly” sweater are invited to gather at the Wells Corner Shopping Center for the first Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest.
Anticipated to become an annual event, organizer MJ Dillingham said she’s also hoping it breaks a world record. The winner with the ugliest sweater will win a 42-inch Panasonic plasma television.
Following the contest, participants are invited to march in the Southern Maine Christmas Parade. Contest registration begins at 10 a.m. at the shopping center and the parade begins at 2 p.m. Dillingham has partnered with WBLM 102.9 FM, whose van the winner will ride in during the parade.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it’s fun just to call them ugly sweaters,” Dillingham said. “It’s going to be hysterical. I think our sides are going to hurt by the end of it.”
Dillingham said the event, which costs $5 to register, is supporting Goodwill Industries. She also encourages participants who don’t have an ugly sweater at home to see if they can find one at Goodwill.
Michelle Smith, communications manager for Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, noted that holiday sweaters are popular this time of year.
“People throughout northern New England host holiday parties and we love that people turn to Goodwill,” she said. “Not only can you find that perfect reindeer sweater, but you are also supporting your neighbors and local economy when you shop with Goodwill.”
Dillingham was inspired to create the contest by the Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book when driving by a Goodwill store on her way to work recently.
“I just went, an ugly sweater contest. That’s it. That could be wicked funny, fun for everybody,” she said. “And let Goodwill be the benefactor. It’s a family event that is putting good stuff into the community.”
Describing herself as an “over the top” person, Dillingham then found a way to take the event even further.
“I thought I’ll bet you that nobody’s ever figured out how many ugly Christmas sweaters are in one place. There’s no record at all. I filled out the paperwork, so we’re going for a Guinness World Record,” she said. “Whatever we do will be a record. Nobody’s ever done it.”
A scavenger hunt will ensue while the competition unfolds, with prizes available.
Dillingham said the competition’s judges will be “impartial,” but she could not divulge further information. First, second and third place prizes will be handed out. While the first place winner receives the television and a ride on the WBLM van in the parade, second place earns a $100 gift card to Goodwill, and third place receives “The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book.”
Dillingham said she’s coming prepared on Sunday.
“I have a holiday sweater with snowflakes, and yesterday, my daughter and I went to Goodwill and found her an ugly Christmas sweater,” she said. “We’ll be well-represented.”
GO & DO
What: Ugly Holiday Sweater Contest for Guinness Book of World Records
When: 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 11
Where: Wells Corner Shopping Center
To register: Download a registration form for the event by visiting Maine Events by Design at www.maineeventsbydesign.net. You can also register the day of starting at 10 a.m. Registration is $5 per person and will benefit Goodwill Industries of New England.