On Smithfield’s Main Street on Wednesday, Mark Hall, team member of Smithfield 2020, and Judy Winslow, director of tourism for Smithfield and Isle of Wight County, stand beneath one of the banners that will be redesigned as part of a contest.
On Smithfield’s Main Street on Wednesday, Mark Hall, team member of Smithfield 2020, and Judy Winslow, director of tourism for Smithfield and Isle of Wight County, stand beneath one of the banners that will be redesigned as part of a contest.

From bacon to banners

Published 9:47pm Wednesday, April 2, 2014

After an invasion of life-size porcine statues helped make Smithfield even more popular as a tourist destination, town and Isle of Wight County officials have kicked off a contest to redesign the banners hanging from light poles.

The deadline for entries is May 12 at noon, with the contest open to all amateur and professional artists, photographers and students.

Prize money is up for grabs: $500 for first place, $300 for second place and $200 for third place.

“We did banners about four years ago, and people really liked those,” said Lois Tokarz, marketing and public relations manager at Smithfield and Isle of Wight Convention and Visitor Bureau.

“But they don’t last forever. It was time to reproduce those, and we had just gone through a branding process.”

The winning banners will most successfully illustrate the town’s new brand — “Genuine Smithfield … Savor Our Small-Town Southern Charm.”

“It was going to be my job to create the banner, and I thought it would be a great opportunity” to open it up to artists, Tokarz said.

“I actually saw that Richmond had done something like this, and I thought, ‘What a great idea!’”

Entries can be in any two-dimensional medium, she said, and the winners would be reproduced in photographs.

“We are hoping to see a wide variety of painting, photographs, drawings and graphic design,” Tokarz said.

Previous entries in the town’s Pork-a-razzi photo contest are eligible for re-entry in the banner contest, and there’s no age limit, nor do artists have to live in Smithfield.

The three winning banners will be reproduced and displayed in downtown Smithfield with the artist’s name, and the jury will also select additional entries to show around town.

“Entries will be judged on overall photographic and artistic quality, promotional appeal as banners displayed in the downtown area, reproducibility and best expression of the theme,” according to a news release.

Judy Winslow, director of tourism for Smithfield and Isle of Wight County, said the contest would “bring the wow-factor to the historic district.”

Mark Hall, team member of Smithfield 2020, said $8,000 would be invested in the project, including prize money and producing the banners.

Entries can be delivered to the Arts Center @ 319, 319 Main Street, Attn. Sheila Gwaltney. Digital entries can be emailed to isleofwightphotocontest@gmail.com or delivered on a CD or flash drive.

Winners will be announced at bureau’s National Tourism Celebration, on May 16 from 5:30 p.m.

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