Student Santas deliver decorated windows to a Midland Street restaurant

This holiday season there was a lot of competition.

On Oct. 31, H2O’s Waterside Grill posted on Facebook about a window painting contest. The contest was open to high school students only, with the theme being “Holiday.”

The top three winners would win money and a gift card to either H2O’s Waterside Grill or O’s Pub & Grill in Auburn. Marc and Laura Owczarzak own both H2O’s and O’s.

The students started their paintings inside the 966 E. Midland St. H2O's restaurant on Nov. 14 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and had to come back to finish by the end of the day on Nov. 15.

I, Elyse Hompstead, was very intrigued, so I entered the competition. With a love for art that I’ve had since I was younger, I found it exciting to be able to paint and have a chance to win money.

I submitted my drawing of the Grinch eating a turkey with Cindy Lou Who and his dog, Max. I felt that this would be very fitting for the holiday season with Thanksgiving being around the corner and Christmas happening soon after.

To prepare for this, I got paint markers and the primary colors to be able to mix any color I needed. As I entered the restaurant on Nov. 14, each window was quickly being taken by students.

I started my painting by sketching the outline of each character. This painting was very time-consuming, and I ended up finishing the painting later in the day on Nov. 15.

I had to wait until Dec. 18 to get the results to see if I got one of the top three winning spots.

As I waited in anticipation, owner Marc Owczarzak started reading off the winners.

In first place, with a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer painting, was Vivian Kern winning $300 in cash and a $50 gift card.

I took second place, winning $150 in cash and a $50 gift card.

In third place, with a tilting tree and snowman, was Laken Lickfelt. Laken won $75 in cash and a $50 gift card. 

The restaurant also awarded a $20 gift card to each artist who entered the contest.

This was an amazing opportunity for the young artists and we will all be looking forward to it next year.

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