A FAMILIAR Penola family has been crowned winner of the eighth annual Penola and Coonawarra Stuffed Santa Competition, which culminated at the Christmas Street Party.
The Lambert family’s unique take on the Hollywood theme, including a stretch limo sleigh, lit up Hollywood sign and Mickey and Minnie mouse dressed as reindeer, edged out 26 other entries to claim the coveted prize and bragging rights for 12 months.
It is not the first time the Lambert family has won the Penola and District Business and Tourism Association (PADBATA) competition and this year’s inclusion of a bench and props box which allowed people to take photographs in the sleigh proved the difference for the judges, who were impressed with its interactive nature.
The second place winner was Balnaves of Coonawarra with a Minions-inspired entry.
The judges said all agreed they loved the upcycling of materials and the minions added appeal for younger generations.
In third place was Jack Estate with its Jaws themed entry.
The competition was started eight years ago by Deb Redman and Balnaves of Coonawarra, but is now sponsored by Koonara Wines and run by Jen McCulloch.
Ms McCulloch said each year the competition gets bigger and better.
“Each year we see the entry numbers swell and the class of entries always exceeds expectations,” she said.
“This year was no different, with the judges having a very difficult task of deciding who would be the winner.”
Local school principals Olivia Thomas, Anna Copping and Maureen Hanrahan were this year’s judges and spent time deliberating on the difficult decision.
“The judges said the standard of entries were outstanding and they really enjoyed seeing all the people stopping to take photographs with the Santas as we were driving around scoring each entry,” Ms McCulloch said.
“It really is a wonderful event that brings people to the region.”