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Schenectady Smiles Announces 2016 Community Pride Photo Contest Winners at Pep Rally

Crowds Gather at Schenectady City Hall to Cheer On Contest Winners,  Marching Band and Inspired Community Leaders

(Video produced by Open Stage Media)

This summer’s community pride event, known as the Schenectady Smiles Pep Rally, saw hundreds of people gather at the steps of Schenectady City Hall on August 17th to show their community pride and hear the announcement of the winners of the 2016 Schenectady Smiles Photo Contest.

Buzz Media Solutions, in collaboration with the City of Schenectady, Schenectady’s HOMES program, Schenectady United Neighborhoods (SUN), local businesses and community organizations, joined forces once again this summer for a second community-pride initiative following the success of last year’s Miles of Smiles initiative, which drew a crowd of more than 1000 people to Schenectady’s State Street.

The 2016 Schenectady Smiles Pep Rally featured speakers including Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Dr. Brent Ridge, owners of Beekman 1802 and the newest members of the Electric City Innovation Center (ECIC), US Congressman Paul Tonko, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, NYS Assembly Member Angelo Santabarbara, Ellen Sax, vice president of community engagement at MVP Health Care and Jeff Goronkin of Buzz Media Solutions.

Goronkin said, “This event is a special opportunity for the residents and people who work in the City of Schenectady to show of their community pride in a fun and engaging way.  We are thrilled to see so many people participating in the pep rally!”

The Mohonasen High School marching band and color guard were also on hand to bring sound and spirit to the pep rally.  In addition, The Smile Monster and Newsie Gazette made special appearances, as well as Steve, the miSci-saurus from the Museum of Science and Innovation.  Everyone attending were encouraged to wear matching t-shirts and bring handmade signs and banners to show their pride for a neighborhood, company or organization – which they did in full force.

“Today, Schenectady is smiling, and we have so much to smile about every day in this great city. Just down the road from here, there’s the new Mohawk Harbor where boats will soon dock, bringing tourists from across the region to visit the Rivers Casino and Resort now under construction. Since my time serving on the Schenectady County Legislature nearly 10 years ago now, we’ve seen the ongoing transformation of Downtown Schenectady into a vibrant upstate destination. With the renovation of Proctors, more progress has followed, with new businesses and restaurants adding to the revitalization of the Electric City. Every day, there’s a new reason to smile,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara.

Mayor Gary McCarthy said, “This event truly brings out our collective sense community pride and demonstrates a level of activity and progress in Schenectady, which other communities are beginning to envy.”

“Let’s keep lighting up the Electric City with our smiles, because you know the heritage and history of this great community are what make us smile for the greatest reasons; that the invention and innovation in this community is what allowed us to be dubbed – the city that lights and hauls the world. From the neighborliness of Schenectady, to the greatness of Schenectady, to the heritage of Schenectady – let’s keep smiling everyone!”  said Congressman Paul Tonko.

Earlier this summer Buzz Media Solutions and The Daily Gazette partnered to launch the Schenectady Smiles photo contest on which was meant to encourage Schenectady residents and community members to get out and take pictures that instilled a sense of admiration and real appreciation for the many assets the city has in its many distinct neighborhoods.

The photo contest solicited photos in each of these five categories:

Category #1 – Diversity (people, art, culture, food)

Category #2 – Community Vitality (vibrant places; transportation, neighborhood pride)

Category #3 – Natural Environment (lakes, rivers, preserves, parks, sky, wildlife)

Category #4 – Architecture/Urban Design (plazas, buildings, neighborhoods, boulevards)

Category #5 – Businesses & Organizations (businesses, non-profits, schools, clubs)

People submitted photos to the contest from iconic events, like Schenectady County Summer Night, well known businesses such as Perrecca’s, Sunnview Rehabilitation Hospital and the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci).  More than 140 pictures were ultimately submitted to the inaugural photo contest.  A committee of community judges cast the deciding votes for the first and second place awards in each of the five categories, and the people’s choice award was given in each category as well. This award was decided by the highest number of votes given by the community on the Daily Gazette’s website.  At the pep rally, the winning photographs were announced, the winners were later presented with awards comprising of donations from local businesses and certificates of recognition from Assemblymember Santabarbara’s office.

The winning photographs are currently displayed in a gallery on the first floor in Schenectady City Hall and can be viewed at the Schenectady Smiles Facebook Page.  The entire community is encouraged to visit the gallery at city hall, which will be on exhibit through the end of September, 2016.

Both the Schenectady Smiles Photo Contest and Pep Rally was a collective community partnership supported by the following organizations: Ambition Café, Aperitivo Bistro, Beekman 1802, Bowtie Cinemas – Schenectady, Buzz Media Solutions, Capital Region Chamber of Commerce, City of Schenectady, The Daily Gazette, DSIC, HOMES, Katz Kafe, Legere Restorations, miSci, Mohonasen Central School District, MVP, The Open Door Bookstore, Open Stage Media (OSM), Proctors, SCCC, Schenectady United Neighborhoods (SUN), The Smile Monster and Yoga Bliss on the Boulevard.


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