Petworth Main Street Holiday Lights takes place from November 17 through January 7, and is organized by Petworth Main Street.


This year, businesses within the Petworth Main Street (Upshur St from 8th Street to 13th Street + Georgia Ave from Upshur St to Missouri Ave) are invited to participate in Holiday Lights by decorating their storefronts with holiday lights—attracting residents and visitors from across the District to explore, shop, and play this holiday season.

  • Judges and public participants will vote for their favorite holiday light displays in 7 categories.
  • Participating businesses will receive an abundance of free promotion during Holiday Lights and will be eligible for cash prizes*
  • Petworth Main Street will also be part of a citywide Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt, which will drive residents and visitors to the corridor starting November 24.
  • The citywide Holiday Lights Award Ceremony on December 14 will announce winners and feature participating businesses for a night of celebration.

*Business must have a current business license to receive a cash prize.

Free Promotion & Prizes

All participating businesses are eligible for the holiday lights contest and will be listed on the website and included in online promotions. Eligible winners will receive a cash prize.

Registration is free.

Awards Information

The public will determine the People’s Choice Award by voting for their favorite by December 10. A panel of independent judges will select winners for the remaining award categories. 

  1. Best Display of Neighborhood Spirit – Petworth (capture the spirit of what makes our neighborhood unique)   
  2. Most Creative Use of Lights
  3. Most Colorful Display
  4. Best Use of Merchandise (featuring your business’s products) 
  5. Overall Best of Show (judges’ choice) 
  6. People’s Choice Awards (based on public voting) 
  7. Best Corporate Display

Categories 1-6 are open only to locally-owned businesses. Corporate chains are eligible for category #7, Best Corporate Display.

What Do The Winners Receive?

All awards will be announced at the Holiday Lights Award Ceremony on December 14. Each winner will be extensively promoted in the media, on local listservs, and through paid advertisements on Facebook with messaging to encourage residents and visitors to visit the winning businesses to see their displays. All winners will receive a certificate and Petworth Main Street will award cash prizes to eligible businesses.* 

The cash prizes include:

  1. Best Display of Neighborhood Spirit – Petworth (capture the spirit of what makes our neighborhood unique):  $300
  2. Most Creative Use of Lights: $300
  3. Most Colorful Display: $300
  4. Best Use of Merchandise (feature biz products):  $300
  5. Overall Best of Show (judges’ choice):  $500
  6. People’s Choice Awards (based on public voting):  $500

*Business must have a current business license to receive a cash prize.


Why Participate?

  • Free Advertising: Your business will receive free advertising for participating in Holiday Lights! You will be included in press materials sent to print, online and broadcast media outlets across the District. The event website will list your business with your address and any holiday promotional activities offered during the month of November and December. Participating businesses will be featured in the newsletter and social media.
  • Attract New Customers: One-third of consumers have chosen not to enter a business because it “didn’t look like a place I would normally shop.” You need to use creative methods of increasing foot traffic and attracting potential customers so that they see your business is a place for them! Participating in Holiday Lights puts you on the Holiday Lights contest ballot for residents across the District who will come to the neighborhood and check out your display. Consumers are also more likely to frequent your business if they know who you are and trust you. Being seen as active in the community builds that trust.
  • Increase Customer Loyalty & Sales: Research shows that shoppers prefer to patronize businesses that are involved in their communities. BONUS: When businesses are involved with the community, customers are willing to pay slightly higher prices to buy from them. As a retailer with strong community ties, you can increase your prices and profits without driving customers away.

Register Your Business For Holiday Lights

Once you’ve registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Thanks for being a part of this fun community event and giving Petworth Main Street the opportunity to promote your awesome business!