Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Shutterbugs capture town’s spirit

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Tom Fedor⁄The Gazette
President David Price (left) and member Chim Butt (owner of Mealey’s Restaurant) frame up some entries in Downtown New Market Partnership’s ‘‘Picture Perfect Town” contest Friday. The group will continue to accept entries through Sunday.
Sorting through photographs in Mealey’s Restaurant on Friday afternoon, two New Market businessmen happily proclaimed the first ‘‘Picture Perfect Town” contest had succeeded.

Though gallery owner David Price will accept entries until Sunday, he said the contest had already met its goal of bringing visitors to the town and promoting business.

He and Chim Butt, who owns Mealey’s Restaurant, were among several residents and business owners who banded together to organize the photo contest and will judge it later this month.

Downtown New Market Partnership, a group formed in March of last year, organized the contest to promote the town.

‘‘I can’t help but see people taking pictures,” Price said, adding that entries so far had been split evenly between town residents and visitors. ‘‘The town residents that have called have been very excited.”

Butt, who donated $100 worth of gift certificates to the contest, said he sponsored the contest because it showed what New Market offers visitors.

‘‘It gives folks who don’t know New Market and what we have to offer a chance to come in and see it,” he said.

Price said that this past weekend, an entire family visited the town and snapped pictures.

Erin Kline of Frederick said she and her husband, Mike, took their children to the town Sunday afternoon after reading about the contest.

The couple’s 10-year-old daughter, Kara, is already an avid photographer, Kline said, and that was an impetus to participate in the contest.

Armed with two digital cameras, the family went to New Market to experience the town. While there, they took pictures of several buildings and the interior of the New Market General Store.

‘‘Candy is a big attraction for kids,” Kline said.

The family was in New Market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, and they enjoyed lunch at Mallard’s Restaurant, which they had never heard of. Kline said she is telling all of her friends about it, and added that the home-style food there reminded her of her mother-in-law’s house.

‘‘The chicken potpie tasted exactly like my mother-in-law’s,” she said.

Kline said her family dubbed the trip a ‘‘photo safari,” and they intend to take similar trips to other towns.

Price said that experience was exactly what he had been hoping for when he thought of the contest: bringing visitors into town to enjoy a day there.

Price also thanked Frederick Camera Clique for helping come up with the rules and system for the contest. ‘‘Four of their members have already submitted entries,” he said.

Peter Foiles, the Clique’s former president, said the group was formed in the early 1980s and boasts membership from throughout the region, extending from the I-270 corridor to Hagerstown. ‘‘The New Market contest drew from our experience with annual juried competition that the Clique sponsors each summer for over 20 years now,” Foiles said.

Price said that as of Tuesday, there were 20 entries, with 10 more expected to be turned in by the deadline.

Entries will be displayed on two consecutive weekends, Feb. 16-17 and Feb. 23-24, in stores throughout New Market.

Stores that have expressed interest in displaying photos include 12 West Main, the New Market General Store, Barefoot Boutique, the Little Pottery Shop, Robert Easterly Antiques and Fleshman’s Antiques. Price said the store list could change depending on the number of entries, and he will post a final list at 12 West Main.

Kline said she and her family were interested in seeing the other entries to see other people’s interpretations of the sites in town. She said selecting which of the many pictures her family would submit — and they each submitted a photo — was difficult, and she was interested in what other people had shot.

‘‘It was very much like standing in a candy store trying to decide what to get. ... But that’s the great thing about digital cameras,” she said.

To submit a picture

Stop by 12 West Main in New Market before 5 p.m., Sunday to drop off your photo of downtown New Market, with an $8 entry fee.

Photos must be matted to an 11x14 board. The entry fee pays for the frame in which the pictures will be displayed.