Deck the Circles Competition Spreads Much Needed Holiday Cheer

Holiday Joy Latoya Saunders of the Kingdom Worship Center celebrates her $15,000 grand prize for her decoration of the Ranfurly Circus on Grand Bahama Island. She was one of four entrants in the GBPA-sponsored Deck The Circles holiday competition.

The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) was pleased to award Latoya Saunders of the Kingdom Worship Center the grand prize in this holiday season’s ‘Deck the Circles’ competition. Funded by the GBPA, the festively lit and decorated malls across the island have brought smiles to the faces of Grand Bahamians for many years and kicked off the holiday decorating season. Prior to the arrival of hurricane Dorian, the GBPA sought to revamp its holiday decoration strategy, opting to engage its licensees in a ‘Deck The Circles’ competition.

“We wanted to do something different,” said Deputy Director & City
Manager Troy McIntosh. “We know how much residents on the island love seeing each circle decorated with lights and fun themes during the holidays. But with Dorian, we were worried that our entrants would not be able to participate. Instead, we were thrilled with the level of creativity of the contenders and all of the hard work that went into making each of the circles uniquely beautiful.”

The entry application process began in August 2019 for licensees of the
GBPA in good standing. Judging, which took place on December 4 and 6, was based on each circle’s curb appeal including the creative use of lights and decorations, and theme. Judges included Mercynth Ferguson of the GB Chamber of Commerce, Elvis Burrows from the GB Christian Council, GBPA Staffer Sharel Carter, Kelly Russell of the Downtown Business Association and local artist Alisa Robinson. Ms. Saunders, whose installation at the Ranfurly Circus wowed motorists and local residents, was awarded the competition’s fifteen thousand dollar first prize. In second place was MM Training representative, Courtney
McIntosh, who received ten thousand dollars for her installation at the Four- Way-Co-op circle. Janiece Saunders, of Bee U Nique, placed third and received an award of eight thousand dollars for her work at the Circle Mall.

During the awards presentation, Kingdom Worship Center Pastor Kermit Saunders, whose daughter took first place, shared the following: “We were at the circle adding our final decorations and finishing the lights. A driver was circling slowly and pulled over to look at our work. She hugged me and thanked me, and shared that she had lost her home and is having a hard time recovering, but that seeing the lights and holiday message made her feel happy again.”

McIntosh said that other residents shared similar sentiments on GBPA’s
social media pages. “We’re hoping to make the second annual ‘Deck The Circles’ competition even more exciting and grand next year,” he said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what new and creative themes our licensees will come up with. Our congratulations and heartfelt thanks to all of those who stepped up and gave us this much-needed boost before the end of the year!”

More photo highlights below:

Holiday Winners – Latoya Saunders, of the Kingdom Worship Center, Courtney McIntosh of MM Training and Janeice Saunders took the top three spots in the first annual Deck the Circles Holiday competition sponsored by the GBPA. The trio were the top picks of judges for their work to decorate the Ranfurly Circus, Four Way-Co-op, and Circle Mall roundabouts respectively. (Photo courtesy of GBPA for Barefoot Marketing)

Third Place Winner
Janiece Saunders, of Bee U Nique, took home $8,000 third-place prize for her installation at the Circle Mall. Licensees of the Port were engaged to conceptualize and execute decorative holiday themes for the island’s roundabouts as part of the first annual Deck the Circles Holiday competition.

Second Place Winner – MM Training representative, Courtney McIntosh, was responsible for the decorations at the Four-Way-Co-op circle and took home the second place of $10, 000 in the first annual Deck the Circles holiday competition. (Photo courtesy of GBPA for Barefoot Marketing)

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