Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Girls Work to Make Westport the State’s ‘Fan Favorite’
By James Lomuscio
Westport has a good chance of winning Connecticut’s Fan Favorite Town contest thanks to three girls under the age of 11 who may be the town’s biggest, and perhaps youngest boosters, and their catchy, four-minute video.
Westporters (l-r) Clara Holleman,11, Sutton Lindau, 10, and Sydney Newman, 11, promote Westport in a state tourism video contest entry. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Mostly wearing jeans shorts and t-shirts emblazoned with “Everybody Loves a Westport Girl,” the youngsters are seen dashing around to Westport’s most famous places—everywhere from Mitchells and the Westport Country Playhouse to Westport Pizzeria and Compo Beach.
The video was made over the Memorial Day weekend with help from their moms and a recent Staples High School graduate .
The catch is that people have to go online and vote for it before the contest ends July 25, says Jill Newman.
Newman’s daughter Sydney, 11, who just finished fifth grade at Long Lots Elementary School, created the video for the state’s Office of Tourism contest with friends Clara Holleman, 11, and Sutton Lindau, 10, who just graduated Coleytown Elementary School.
“The girls were discussing it,” Newman recalled, noting that last year Niantic won the state contest. “They knew about the contest, and they thought it would be fun to make a video as to why Westport was so special.
“So that’s what they did over Memorial Day weekend,” she added. “We went all over town, driving them.”
The video was shot by Claudine Brantley “in her free time between working at the Westport Library and studying for finals,” said Newman. Claudine is headed to Parsons School of Design in the fall.
The four-minute video was made with help from their moms and a friend. YouTube.com video
“We heard about the contest for being called the best town in Connecticut, and we wanted to help Westport win,” said Sutton.
“This is such a great town with so much different stuff to do and all we need is to get people to feel their pride and vote. So we made a video to get people excited.”
“I’m so proud of these girls; they got the best of the town and some hidden gems,” said Newman, a Westport resident of 14 years.
“I didn’t even know about fly fishing in town (on Ford Road), or that the Rolnick Observatory was open to the public on Wednesday nights.”
The girls let viewers know that Westport is “a beach town and a river town,” with scenes at Compo Beach and Sherwood Island State Park, as well a clip of the three of them canoeing the Saugatuck River.
There is also a segment of the girls interviewing First Selectman Jim Marpe, who tells them the town has 27,300 residents and a long arts history exemplified in shots of the new Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts.
The girls also detail how the town is both “historic and innovative” with shots outside the Westport Historical Society and atop the Compo Beach cannons juxtaposed with the 3D printer at the library’s Maker Space.
Culture and nature stand side-by-side with shots inside the Westport Arts Center and outside the Westport Playhouse followed by a scene of Earthplace trails.
The town is also depicted as glamorous and down-to-earth. The girls pretend shop at Mitchell’s and on Main Street.
First Selectman Jim Marpe makes a brief appearance in the video. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Then there are scenes of Joey’s by the Shore, Westport Pizzeria and Black Duck. It even contrasts foods for the health conscious (Granola Bar and Organic Market) “and when you need a sweet reward,” with shots of Saugatuck Sweets, Coffee ‘an, and the Frosty Bear ice cream stand at Christie’s Country Store.
“Please vote for Westport as your fan favorite,” the girls shout in unison shout at the video’s conclusion.
If the video wins, Newman said, the town will garner, along with bragging rights for 2014: advertising support from the Connecticut Office of Tourism; national and in-state public relations support; an editorial feature in the 2015 Official Connecticut Visitor’s Guide; a week-long social media feature across the Connecticut Office of Tourism’s social channels - an audience of more than 200,000; and an honorary plaque.
The video can be viewed here.
To vote, visit Facebook/VisitConnecticut and click the #CTFanFavorite Tab, or follow the link http://bit.ly/1ggWInm) to vote.
All who vote will be entered to win a free four-night Connecticut getaway, Newman said.
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