NEWTOWN BOROUGH >> With so many holiday events cancelled this year due to the pandemic, admittedly the joy of the season is a little harder to find this year.

But if you look a little closer, the spirit of the season can be found in the simplest of places - the colorful lights adorning the ornamental street lamps along State Street, the giant snowflakes decorating the town’s Christmas tree and in the many visible symbols of the season evident throughout the greater Newtown area.

In lieu of holding its Holiday Open House Tour, the Newtown Historical Association is challenging everyone - young and old - to find the beauty of the season in Newtown Borough and Newtown Township and to capture it for all to see.

Between now and Dec. 31, the NHA is holding a “Home for the Holidays” photography contest. And people of all ages and experience levels are invited to compete.

Entering is easy. Capture a holiday image in Newtown Borough or Newtown Township with your smartphone or camera and upload the images to www.Newtownhistoric.org. There is a $5 charge per entry.

“For 57 years, members and guests of the Newtown community have enjoyed our Newtown Holiday House Tour,” said contest organizer and NHA member Mary Jo Garner. “To ease the loss of being able to share our wonderful town this year, we have decided to sponsor a ‘Home for the Holidays’ photo contest.”

“This year has been and continues to be a challenge for many of us,” wrote members Browyn Jones and Sue Thompson on the NHA website. “Our hope is that through this contest, we will be reminded that we live in a gracious community filled with an important history of resiliency. As we share photos from our own unique perspective with our friends and neighbors, we have the opportunity to build new relationships and create bridges of understanding and hope for our future with those in our community.”

The contest is open to people of all backgrounds and skill levels. The photos should have a holiday theme, be exterior shots only and taken in either Newtown Borough or Newtown Township.

Photos can range from holiday wreaths and store windows to decorated homes, buildings, yards and glistening nighttime light displays.

“Explore Newtown,” encourages Garner. “You may include a decorated house, business or barn or focus on front doors, porches and fences as well other appropriately decorated home features or any holiday scene. We do ask that you please respect private property and please do not include any personal portraits.”

Photographs must be received by December 31. Please include your $5 submission fee with each photograph. Submissions are unlimited and all of the proceeds go to support the Newtown Historic Association, whose mission is to preserve and share the history of Newtown.

Submitted photos will be critiqued by a panel of judges and prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced after the first of the year.

While exploring the streets of town in search of holiday spirit, the association encourages photographers to spend some extra time in Newtown eating lunch or dinner, shopping for the holidays and taking in the scenes of the season.

“Wend your way through the back streets of town searching out that elusive quintessential ‘Home for the Holidays’ and after capturing it, submit it to the NHA,” said Garner. “You may find yourself a winner of the 1st, 2nd or 3rd place prize! Or you may find your photograph chosen to adorn a future NHA publication.”

And while you’re in town, take a moment to experience the past by walking the streets that George Washington walked 244 years ago as he prepared for the pivotal battle in Trenton during the American Revolutionary War.

“We want people to come to town, walk around because it’s safe and it’s fun, experience history and capture the joy. And hopefully it will fill you with that holiday spirit that we can all really use this year,” said Garner.

In addition to the photography contest, the NHA will be selling limited edition Historic Newtown puzzles for $35 each at the First National Bank of Newtown and at the Newtown Hardware House, both on South State Street.

The NHA is also selling the NHA’s newly-released poster featuring the winners of this past summer’s “The Beauty of Newtown” photography contest at the First National Bank of Newtown on South State Street and at Countryside Gallery. The posters sell for $10 each and are a great gift for anyone who lives or works in Newtown.

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