Businesses, nonprofit organizations, individuals and families can participate in the Downtown Development Authority’s Christmas-themed contest Sidewalk Santa Takeover.

DDA Director Aundi Lesley said they got the inspiration from similar downtown contests, like Woodstock’s Scarecrow Invasion. The proceeds from the contest will go toward buying new Christmas decorations for Downtown Rome.

People can submit applications to the DDA to design their own Santa Claus statue. Entries will be featured along Broad Street and around Downtown Rome for the entire month of December.

The Santa can be made out of anything, except for hay and pine straw, but it has to be weighted down in case of wind.

The registration price is $50 for businesses, $25 for schools and nonprofits, and $15 for an individual or family. The deadline is Nov. 12.

After the Santas are set up, people can vote for their favorite by donating money to the DDA — $1 a vote.

Votes can be submitted in-person at several locations: the DDA office in the Carnegie Building. 607 Broad St., Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Rome Area History Center, 305 Broad St., Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The contest runs for the month of December.

Downtown businesses with Santas may also collect votes for the Santa located at their place of business. Votes can also be submitted online at the DDA website or via PayPal to

Be sure to include the name of your favorite Santa with your vote.

The deadline for voting is Dec. 30 and the winner will be announced on Friday, Jan. 7. The winner will receive a Golden Santa Award and a plaque.

For more information, as well as the rules and regulations, visit the DDA’s website, call 706-236-4520 or email


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