EVERETT — After the city of Everett canceled the 24th Monte Cristo Awards ceremony, volunteers have rallied to carry on the decades-long tradition.
With only a few months’ notice, members of the Council of Neighborhoods are scrambling to ensure the ceremony is held once again this October.
“It’s a way for people from all of the neighborhoods to get together to see what’s happening in other neighborhoods,” said Tina Hokanson, who co-chairs the ceremony. “We have neighbor meetings monthly, but this is an all-city celebration that we wanted to continue.”
In April, to the disappointment and surprise of many, Mayor Cassie Franklin announced the annual event would not be held due to the city’s long-term budget deficit. However, the awards would still be given out to homeowners and businesses that take pride in their properties.
“After evaluating the cost of the event, staff time spent and potential lasting engagement, (the) Office of Neighborhoods staff determined that the awards ceremony event did not lead to the kind of lasting engagement they had hoped,” said Kari Goepfert, spokeswoman for the city, in an email.
When Jim Grieco, another co-chair and leader of the Twin Creeks Neighborhood Association, heard the city called off the awards ceremony, he immediately knew the Council of Neighborhoods had the talent to carry it on.
“And, so far we have,” he said.
The first challenge the group faced was finding a location. It was resolved when the Historic Everett Theatre offered to host the ceremony for free.
“We haven’t done this before. We are all learning as we go,” said Hokanson, who also leads the Evergreen Neighborhood Association.
The event will be scaled back a bit compared to previous years. The main attraction, a slideshow of the winners, will still be presented.
The city has been supportive of the push to revive the ceremony, Hokanson said.
Winners of the Monte Cristo receive a certificate and plaque, which is frequently displayed by their front doors. The accolades also are often referenced in real estate postings. Categories include Green Gardening, Neighborhood Friendly Business, Pride of the Neighborhood, and Rejuvenation and Transformation.
A group of about 20 volunteers judged the submissions.
The Oct. 25 event is free and open to the public, with more details to come.
“We hope this continues next year. It’s been a really long tradition,” Hokanson said. “To me, taking care of your home is one way of showing respect to your neighbors. Even if it’s simple.”
Lizz Giordano: 425-374-4165; email@example.com; Twitter: @lizzgior.