CVB pleased with number, quality of video entries for Fresh Takes

ALPENA — Late last year the Alpena Convention and Visitors Bureau began accepting entries for its Fresh Takes Video Contest and the winners will be announced next weekend.

CVB President Mary Beth Stutzman said the contest was created to have residents film and record what makes Alpena special. The winning video will be used to market and promote Alpena and help explain what makes Alpena “The Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.”

Because this is the first year for the contest, Stutzman said she didn’t know how many entries she would receive or what the quality would be. When the deadline for entry passed, she said the participation exceeded her expectation. More importantly, all of the videos were high quality and captured the spirit of Alpena nicely.

“We’re very happy,” Stutzman said. “We had more videos entered than we planned on and we are very happy how this first year has gone. All of the videos are amazing and each will be used to help tell the Alpena story.”

Stutzman said judges are reviewing the videos and narrow the finalist to five. She said the top three winners will be announced at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Saturday at 4:30 p.m. during the Thunder Bay International Film Festival.

Each of the three winners will win a cash prize and all of the videos will be used as promotional material.

The CVB markets Alpena in a variety of ways, but Stutzman said the Internet provides a wide reach when trying to draw in new visitors. She said the videos will be used on social media, YouTube and on websites that promote Alpena.

“Every one of those videos are valuable and really share the message of what it means to live and experience this Alpena lifestyle,” Stutzman said. “People go to the Internet for information and answers and having visuals like these really gives them a snapshot of what Alpena is.”

There are several themes the judges will see in the videos, Stutzman said. Alpena’s art and culture will be featured, as well as area recreation. The great scenery also will be included.

“I’m just so impressed with them and each one blew away my expectations,” Stutzman said. “Because it was the first year I had a conservative outlook, but all the videos got just hit the nail on the head.”

The CVB already has decided it will hold the Fresh Take contest again next year and Stutzman hopes even more people become involved.

Saturday’s event at the sanctuary is free and Stutzman said she hopes there are a lot of people who show up to see the videos.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com.