Light Up Essex

Businesses and residents alike have gotten into the "Light Up Essex" game, including CK Pearl in this photo from last year's LUE. (Courtesy Photo)

For the last four years, a crew of dedicated Essex residents have built excitement about holiday lights with “Light Up Essex.” The community-wide event has become something of a tradition, in which residents and businesses go to the holiday mats to “get lit.”  This year, some things are changing but many elements remain the same.  And that's a good thing.

As part of the season’s fun, LUE as it’s known, created the “Essex Residential and Merchant Light Fight.”  There’s bragging rights, a big party (called, appropriately, “Essex Gets Lit,”) and cash prizes.  Not to mention a ton of fun.  

Over the years LUE has continued to grow.  Certainly the event has become a source of pride for Marla Royle, the Essex resident who started the idea after deciding that she had enough of the darkened look of downtown Essex.  Over the years, Royle has enlisted the help of friends and colleagues such as Patty Roundy, Mary Beth Smith and Hunter Jay, among others, to make the event sing.  Not to mention sculptor Chris Williams, who one year hand-welded Christmas tree stands for a lighting display of trees.

This year, the LUE “crew” has refashioned the event to accommodate the times.  Royle said this year the team has appreciated the addition of Jeremy McElwain, Karen Moulton and Kate Mazzini to the LUE Crew.  The Essex Residential and Merchant Light Fight is definitely “on,” with expectations that lookers will come from all over Cape Ann to check out the dazzle.  And, starting next week, a new venture for LUE involves a kids creation contest, a decorating contest for local elementary school aged children of Essex giving the chance to win a seat next to Santa during the first Essex holiday parade.  

And, no, the “Essex Gets Lit” party won’t be happening this year (which means it will likely be double the fun next year) but Light Up Essex has joined with the Town of Rockport, Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, Discover Gloucester, and The Cricket in a Cape Ann-wide collaborative program called “Winter Lights,” in which each town will light up for the holidays and encourage each town to appreciate each other.

“Light Up Essex believes this year will be better than previous years with the hopes that traditions and nostalgia will bring the best out in the events LUE has planned,” said Royle. 

For More information please go to Light Up Essex website: www.lightupessexma.com and follow LUE on Facebook.