North Bergen resident Miriam Messer’s photo of a Ferris wheel at the Meadowlands State Fair earlier this month made her one of several local winners of the first “Fun at the Fair” photo contest.
Every year, the state fair’s team brainstorms to come up with new ideas for the people who visit the event, which is held each July.
“We’ve all got our phones and it seems like everyone is snapping pictures,” said Fair Managing Director Michele Tartaglione last week.
Fair Creative Director Mike Guarino and Tartaglione’s nephews, who were a part of this year’s brainstorming meeting, thought a contest would be a good idea.
“It’s really for our patrons to have a good time,” said Tartaglione. “You didn’t have to be a photographer; you didn’t have to have a professional camera. You could have taken it with your smartphone or the camera you have with you.”
“We were thoroughly impressed and delighted with all of this year’s entries.” – Michele Tartaglione
Categories and prizes
Fairgoers had the opportunity to capture entertainment, food, rides, and attractions for the contest, June 22 through July 8. The fair was held next to the Mets Life Stadium in East Rutherford.
The photo contest was sponsored by Rite Aid, which sells photo equipment. The grand prize winner received a $200 Rite Aid gift card. First place winners from each category won a $50 Rite Aid gift card, while honorable mentions received a $40 gift card.
Winners were chosen each week, with the grand prize winner chosen at the end of the fair, said Tartaglione.
The winners hailed from Bergen, Passaic, Essex, Hudson, Union, Monmouth and Ocean counties, along with the Brooklyn, N.Y.
Messer of North Bergen won round 2 prize for the rides category for a shot of one of the two Ferris wheels, this one named the “Gondola Wheel.”
Messer could not be reached for comment at her phone number last week.
Stacey Carna of Jersey City won for her photo, “The Elephant.”
There were 12 winners overall, with the grand prize going to Leslie Granda-Hill of Montclair for “Big Wheel and Fireworks.”
“We were thoroughly impressed and delighted with all of this year’s entries, which captured the joy and sense of fun we all feel when we walk the fair midway,” said Tartaglione. “All of our entries brought the magic to life - from the gorgeous faces of our animal performers to the twinkling lights of our rides and vendor stalls.”
The winning photographs were posted on State Fair Meadowlands’ Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pintrest, blog, and Flickr pages, and could possibly appear on future fair billboards. The photos were submitted online via social media.
Tartaglione said she expects to bring the contest back next year.
“If anything we may expand it,” she said.
A photographer from the Associated Press, Julio Cortez, has taken interest in the photo contest and wants to be a judge next year, she said. He initially came to take pictures of the fair and became interested in the contest.
Tartaglione said the fair committee runs a Haunted Attraction on the same fairgrounds in September and October and will host a photo contest for that event.
“We’re in the business of having fun,” said Tartaglione.
Vanessa Cruz can be reached at email@example.com