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DeMuth Florist takes first in Believe in Connellsville decorating contest

The sights of the Christmas season were on full display in the city with the first window-decorating contest being held by Believe in Connellsville. Employees at DeMuth Florist, located on Pittsburgh Street, have been creatively decorating their windows for each holiday since taking up residency in the corner shop. DeMuth Florist was chosen for first place by a grouping of objective judges from the area. Believe in Connellsville representative Johanna Harden (right) presents a plaque to DeMuth flower artists (from left) Karey Katona, Elizabeth Trump, Shelly Ritenour, Kelly Darnell and Barb Minick. Lori C. Padilla/For the Daily Courier

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Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, 5:32 p.m.

DeMuth Florist has been awarded first place in Believe in Connellsville's first holiday window decorating contest.

In early November, Believe in Connellsville announced the decorating contest was open to local businesses in hopes of boosting community spirit and helping celebrate the holiday season.

BIC members Judy Keller and Sheryl Craven walked along city streets, visiting each store, handing out an information sheet and encouraging participation.

They used the slogan “Yes, Virginia, there is a Connellsville” to promote the contest.

Merchants and businesses were encouraged to decorate storefronts and windows prior to Connellsville's light-up celebration on Nov. 17, which was followed by the annual Christmas parade, sponsored by New Haven Hose Company.

“We were really pleased with the response and happy that so many wanted to show their community spirit as well as adorn their places to celebrate this joyous time of year,” said Keller.

Judging took place in mid-December and was based on illumination, creativity, imagination, originality and preparation. An art teacher and a Connellsville Garden Club member were among the judges.

Joining DeMuth Florist, located at 302 N. Pittsburgh St., as winners were Donna J. Evans Realty and ArtWorks Connellsville, both at 139 W. Crawford Ave., placing second and third. respectively.

“I have worked at DeMuth Florist for 37 years, I can remember when our town looked beautiful at Christmas, and this year is the nicest it has looked in a long time,” said manager Elizabeth Trump. “I love seeing a business in the G.C. Murphy building, and I'm glad that Community Ministries is in the McCrory building. I can recall walking in town and seeing the decorated windows of Levins and Troutmans and so many others. I loved that.

“Our windows here are huge, so I can do a lot with design and creation. It takes at least a day for each window to be decorated. I have help from the others here,” she added.

Helping Trump were Kelly Darnell with painting and Barb Minick in the windows.

“Karey Katona and Shelly Ritenour are the ones watching the store and designing orders while we are in the windows,” said Trump.

Trump said she never does the same theme twice and she never uses the same items two years in a row.

“We make a lot of the decorations. This year one idea was to have elves decorating the tree from the top to bottom with various levels of completeness. When a customer wanted to buy one, we sold it and just moved them all down. In the other window where the barn is, the horse wants to be Rudolph, so we put antlers on him and gave him a red nose,” she said.

Everyone contributes to ideas for the windows, Trump said.

“We enjoy going all out for the holidays. People look forward to Easter when we always have the live rabbits. Ed DeMuth had gotten that idea from Keagy's Drugstore, who had always had them years ago. We know that people come by to see the bunnies from generation to generation,” said Trump.

DeMuth Florist is owned by the Savanick family of Scottdale.

Laurie Hensel, a Realtor at Donna Evans, decorated the local businesses windows for the holidays.

“We were very pleased to receive second place,” said Donna Evans, owner of the realty company.

“She (Hensel) got all the trees and decorated them with great creativity. I think it was a good idea to hold the contest because downtown Connellsville looked very beautiful this Christmas,” said Evans.

“I think everyone should have won the contest. All the windows looked fantastic this year,” said Daniel Cocks, manager at ArtWorks, which took third-place honors.

Receiving honorable mention in the contest were Connellsville Community Ministries, El Canelo Mexican Restaurant, Atkins Music Center, and Hunter Pharmacy.

“The Believe in Connellsville Committee would like to thank everyone who participated for their efforts and spirit this Christmas season. The competition was very close. Our main streets seemed to come alive this year more than ever with the lights and decorations,” said Keller.

Nancy Henry is a freelance writer.

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