Fresh crocus photos to get prizes at Arden

Entry deadline is closing in for the annual spring photography contest

It’s time to sort through your spring photos and pick the best crocus shot.

The village of Arden is once again organizing its spring crocus photo contest and the entry deadline is midnight, Saturday, April 29.

More than $500 in prize money is up for grabs, as well as the honour of capturing one of the top slots in the various classes.

Photos will be printed, judged and displayed at Arden’s Crocus Festival on Saturday, May 6.

Lansdowne Heritage Resources & Tourism Committee (LHRTC) sponsors the annual contest in conjunction with a photography store. This year’s commercial sponsor, Don’s Photo, will print the entries. Contest photos must be as fresh as the season — taken in April, anywhere in Manitoba.

Photographers usually focus on open, full blooms. Crocus buds also can make a captivating photo, says John Dietz, event organizer.

Prairie crocus can be found at many scattered, unmarked patches in Manitoba. The fragile, mauve-coloured wildflower prefers sandy, sunny and undisturbed native grassland.

Arden still has a few acres at the north end of the village where thousands of crocus blooms can be found normally for a few days. They also bloom close to the CPR tracks. Visiting photographers are welcome.

Arden is located six km north of the Yellowhead Highway, about 160 km northwest of Winnipeg.

The photo contest is open for all residents of Manitoba, except professional photographers. Sponsors put up cash for 16 prizes in four categories, with separate competitions for youth and adults.

It is free to enter the photo contest, and free to attend the Crocus Festival in Arden’s Community Hall.

Entry rules can be obtained from the municipal website www.ardenmb.ca. Previous winners are displayed on the site.

There are two events that photographers can enter.

For the first event, a University of Manitoba honours degree graduate in photography will judge the entries on artistic merit.

The popular second event is a People’s Choice competition.

All of the printed photo entries are displayed in the Arden hall. Crocus Festival visitors participate by selecting a favourite youth and adult photo. In 2016, the gallery displayed approximately 180 entries.

The People’s Choice Award is sponsored by the Manitoba Co-operator and the winners are published in the Co-operator and awarded $50 each.

Entries are made in four classes: portraits of a single crocus flower, portraits of crocus clusters (three or more flowers), portraits of crocus in its natural prairie habitat, and creative crocus portraits that don’t fit the other classes.

Entries are only being accepted in digital format. They must be submitted by email before midnight, April 29 to: [email protected]

The crocus photo contest is a ‘natural’ for Arden, says Dietz.

“People love to photograph the Prairie Crocus,” he said. “This contest gives them a chance to display and share their photos. We expect to see some stunning photography, and a lot of good-natured discussion in the new crocus photo gallery.”

The Arden Crocus Festival began in 2001. It is held on the first Saturday in May. The Crocus Photo Contest began in 2009.

Crocus Festival visitors can take in a pancake breakfast and other family-oriented activities. It ends with a self-serve supper and local entertainment. Photo contest winners are announced after supper.

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