BROOKSVILLE - The conductor ate salt and vinegar chips, and drove a white passenger van with a City of Brooksville emblem instead of a sleigh.
On Tuesday, just after sundown, members of the City of Brooksville's Beautification Board hopped into the passenger van, driven by Councilman Joe Bernardini, and inspected the city's five square miles for the best and brightest holiday displays of 2013.
Scott Renz, chairman of the board, and his daughter, Melissa Hemstreet, packed egg nog and hors d'oeuvres in a cooler, and passed around freshly-baked cookies for the five passengers tasked with determining who would win the best Christmas decorations of the year.
The route took the group - which included City Clerk Jan Peters, jotting down the notable displays, and board member Sally Sperling - through Southern Hills, Candlelight, South Brooksville, Cloverleaf and the city's main streets and tucked away cobblestone paths alike.
"We have to make an appearance," Bernardini reminded the group.
After a few hours of lurching and stopping, the van pulled back into the Brooksville City Hall parking lot and the deliberations started.
The best residential Christmas decoration was awarded to Betty Erhard of 707 Howell Ave. An honorable mention was awarded to Deeann Madden of 913 Candlebrook Lane.
Westover's Flowers & Gifts, 510 E. Liberty St., was awarded best commercial Christmas decorations, and Bobby Meadows Printing, 100 S. Main St., received an honorable mention.
Awards will be given out during Monday's City Council meeting.