Hundreds of people excitedly gathered outside Schenectady City Hall this morning to show off their community pride and beaming smiles.
Local marketing firm Buzz Media Solutions hosted a Schenectady Smiles pep rally at 10:30 a.m. to announce the winners of the Schenectady Smiles Photo Contest and to get people together to display their love for the city.
Community members, businesses, organizations, local officials and mascots joined in on the fun. The Mohonasen High School Marching Band and Color Guard pumped up the crowd while people held banners, signs and smiley faces.
The Beekman Boys — Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge — announced the winners of the photo contest during the pep rally while wearing Schenectady Smiles T-shirts. They also announced the opening of their headquarters at Center City on State Street in downtown.
Other speakers included Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy; state Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam; Ellen Sax, vice president of community engagement at MVP Health Care; and Jeff Goronkin of Buzz Media Solutions.
More than 140 people submitted photos in five categories on The Daily Gazette’s website — Diversity (people, art, culture, food); community vitality (vibrant places, neighborhood pride); natural environment (rivers, preserves, parks, sky, wildlife); architecture and urban design (places, buildings, neighborhoods, boulevards); and businesses and organizations (clubs, nonprofits, businesses).
First and second place winners were chosen by a group of community judges. People also got to vote for their favorite photos in each category as part of the people’s choice awards on the Gazette website.
The winners are…
1st place — Paige Street Petting Zoo by Joe Piazzo
2nd place — Welcome with a Smile by Jessica Vanasdale
People’s choice — Welcome to Schenectady via #Amtrak by Chad Putman
1st place — Girls Inc. Mural by Diana Suits
2nd place — Penguin sighting @ Woodlawn Park by Spero Zoulas
People’s choice — Fun at the Stockade by Gladys Dunbar
1st place — Rose Garden Smile by Jean Churchill
2nd place — Memorial Day Sunset by Dave Breitenstein
People’s choice — Sundown by Matt Foster
Architecture and urban design:
1st place — State Street 2016 by Vincent Giordano
2nd place — Namaste Jay by Lauren Magin
People’s choice — Happy Hour Horizon by Julia Henze
Businesses and organizations:
1st place — Sunnyview Hospital Junior Volunteers by Joan Laviolette
2nd place — Perreca’s Bread by Jim Prendergast
People’s choice — Dino Grins by miSci
The winning photos are now on display in the first floor hallway of Schenectady City Hall and can be viewed in the Gazette’s online photo gallery.
Reach Gazette reporter Haley Viccaro at 395-3114, [email protected] or @HRViccaro on Twitter.