By Douglas M. Campbell
As the new year continues, the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau proposed an activity to the residents of Mahoning County in which 12 participants can win big.
Bureau executive director, Linda Macala, and assistant director Tara Mady have re-issued a contest called Snapshots of Youngstown Winter 2021, where people 18 and older are encouraged to submit photographs of what they are doing to start 2021 on the right foot.
“We know 2020 was a tough year for everybody. It’s kind of like you are looking forward to the days ahead, with the new year theme, ‘What are you doing to start the new year off right?’” Mady said.
To spread the theme of a fresh start, the bureau accompanies the competition with weekly blogs on their website with potential suggestions on what people could do or take pictures of.
“We posted one last week about getting outdoors. It doesn’t have to be a workout — just take a walk in Mill Creek Park. There’s a lot of things you could do that you don’t think about,” Mady said.
The first contest was held in fall 2020, and the bureau made a few changes for the second contest.
“The fall was a little bit more intensive, there were more categories with that. Given the virus right now and the time of year it is … we decided to do a simpler version of the snapshots in this contest by asking to submit one photo,” Mady said.
The first competition had seven categories to choose from, and contestants had to enter at least five of them. This year, the contest has just a single category.
In the first week of this years’ competition, 130 participants entered and submitted photographs. The bureau randomly selects two winners every week, from Jan. 19 through Feb. 28.
“It is a totally random drawing, so you don’t have to feel like you need to be a professional photographer, these are not being judged on being a beautiful photo. We want to know what people are doing,” Macala said.
Both weekly winners will receive a $50 gift card to a local Youngstown restaurant courtesy of the bureau. Participants can only win the competition once.
“It was a way we felt to also help out the restaurants with these random drawings because they are struggling because of the pandemic at reduced capacities. Having the restaurants here with us when traveling resumes is important,” Macala said.
The first two winners were announced Jan. 25. The Jambar reached out to both of these winners and received no response.
The bureau is considering putting on this competition again later in the year.
“It’s a way to keep local people engaged in our platforms so that when once again events return and things that we can post about that people will be interested in doing … they will remember to check our page and like and follow us. We want to be the No. 1 source for information on things to do in the area,” Macala said.
Eligible participants must submit one photo using the online entry form. All photos must have been taken in Mahoning County. More information on the Snapshots of Youngstown Winter 2021 contest is available on the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s website.