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Worthington Area Chamber announces photo contest winners

WORTHINGTON -- Local residents may soon see some familiar images of Worthington in some unfamiliar places, thanks to a photo contest recently conducted by the Worthington Area Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB).

Last summer, the CVB put out a call for photo submissions that could be used in its national advertising campaigns, brochures and annual Visitor's Guide publication to promote Worthington. In all, more than 150 images -- many of them capturing the community's greatest asset in Lake Okabena -- were submitted.

Members of the CVB's marketing and visitor committee met in December to judge the entries, and the top three were chosen to feature in the new Visitor's Guide, which will be released in early March. The cover photo, taken by Worthington native Amber Marten Bergeson, garnered first place. The photo features a somewhat still Lake Okabena with a reflection of a row of houses along Lake Street. The photo was taken from the front yard of Bergeson's mother's home.

"The main reason we liked it were the different camera angle, the colors and the definite, recognizable scene from Worthington," said Bryan Ahlers, a member of the CVB's marketing and visitor committee.

Both the second- and third- place photos also feature the lake, with a winter scene and Canada geese on open water taking second place, and a summer scene of a windsurfer garnering third. Bob and Cindy Rust captured the geese on camera, while Beverly Kness snapped the third-place photo from her yard along the lakeshore.

Ahlers and fellow committee member Karla Talsma said selecting the top three photos was a challenge.

"There were quite a few good ones," said Ahlers, adding that judges weren't given the names of the photographers.

"We were lucky enough to pick photos from three different people," he said.

Prizes for the top three photos include a Flip video camera for first place, a 12-megapixel Kodak camera for second place and a digital photo frame for third place.

There were four different photo categories for submissions -- events, people, scenery and places -- but the lake was featured in a majority of the photos submitted.

"That was what we wanted to promote," said Ahlers.

There were several images of people, and a couple photos of the Prairie Holdings building that were also submitted. Many of the entries can be viewed in a photo gallery online at

The 2011 Visitor's Guide will be distributed to people seeking information about the community from the Chamber, and can be found at all of the travel information centers at the entrance to Minnesota. The guide will also be available at select local restaurants and motels and at the Mall of America in Bloomington.

New this year, the guide will also be available at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and will be included in the Daily Globe circulation sometime during National Travel and Tourism Week, which is May 7-15.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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