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Riverhead decorating contest underway

Olivia Sulzer, 3, from Aquebogue looks at one

Olivia Sulzer, 3, from Aquebogue looks at one of the windows decorated for the Riverhead Holiday Window Decorating Contest underway in downtown Riverhead. Over a dozen groups took part on occupied and vacant storefronts to create their themed windows. The public is invited to vote for their favorite window by a paper ballot supplied by The East End Arts Council. (Dec. 4, 2011) Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Dozens of angry elves, many with protest signs, fill one of the store windows near the East End Arts gallery on East Main Street in Riverhead, a holiday display put up by the whimsically named People for the Ethical Treatment of Elves.

The display, complete with Rudolph asking, “Why does Santa get all the milk and cookies?” is one of 17 put up over the past few days in downtown Riverhead for East End Arts’ annual downtown window decoration contest.

Many local businesses have decorated their windows but are not participating in the competition. Nor is the East End Arts gallery, at 133 East Main St., which is decked out in boughs of holly and purple ribbons.

But one competitor, McGann-Mercy High School, has painted one window with an image of Santa and some candles, casting a warm glow.

The River and Roots Community Garden has put up a bench, covered with snow, with a seed catalog laying on it and a squirrel asking when spring is coming.

And the group of about 40 cutout elves promise “Silent Night, Not Tonight” and, for one baseball purist, “End the designated hitter rule.”

The winner of a $500 prize for best window will be selected by anyone who wants to vote. People can register and get a ballot at East End Arts, then check off their choices for the first-, second- and third-place designs.

Voting began this week, with the winner to be announced Dec. 29.

Photo: Olivia Sulzer, 3, from Aquebogue looks at one of the windows decorated for the Riverhead Holiday Window Decorating Contest underway in downtown Riverhead. Over a dozen groups took part on occupied and vacant storefronts to create their themed windows. The public is invited to vote for their favorite window by a paper ballot supplied by The East End Arts Council. (Dec. 4, 2011)

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