Uptown Main Street Holiday Lights takes place from November 19 through January 6, and is organized by Uptown Main Street (UMS).


This year, businesses within the Uptown Main Street (including Petworth) 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*
  • UMS will also be part of a citywide Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt, which will drive residents and visitors to the corridor starting November 26.
  • The citywide Holiday Lights Award Ceremony will announce winners and feature participating businesses for a night of celebration on December 15 

*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 (capture the spirit of what makes your neighborhood unique)
  2. Most Creative Use of Lights
  3. Most Colorful Display
  4. Best Window Display
  5. Best Use of Merchandise (feature your amazing products)
  6. Overall Best of Show (judges’ choice)
  7. People’s Choice Awards (based on public voting)

Categories 1-7 are open only to locally-owned businesses. 


What Do The Winners Receive?

All awards will be announced at the Holiday Lights Award Ceremony on December 15. 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 Uptown Main Street will award cash prizes to eligible businesses.* 

*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 UMS 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 UMS 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 Uptown Main Street the opportunity to promote your awesome business!