Positive Stories and Images Help Build Tourism in Miller Beach
Miller Beach neighborhood of Gary, Indiana - August 2018
The Miller Beach Tourism Bureau enthusiastically awarded top prizes in the inaugural “My Miller Beach” Photo Contest Award Party at the Marshall Gardner Center for the Arts Tuesday night. The Contest generated over 8,700 votes for the most popular photographs and 375 photo entries on VisitMillerBeach.com. More than 160 people submitted their work.
“Our new online presence floods the world with positive stories and images about this ‘the secret gem of the Indiana Dunes’ ” said Peggy Blackwell, President of the Miller Beach Tourism Bureau. “Our mission is to be a year round tourism destination, and bring more customers into the great restaurants and boutiques in our historic downtown. Our beaches have been reviewed in the top ten by magazines like Coastal Living, Parents, and National Geographic Traveler.”
“Miller Beach is where the Indiana Dunes national park begins - our continuous buffer of natural dunes creates a stunningly beautiful Lake Michigan experience on our 6 miles of sugar sand beaches.” She continued, “The national park is part of our DNA - Miller Woods is a hub of activity with the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education and West Beach drawing thousands every year..”
Katie Bohn (Secretary) and Erika Blackwell (Marketing Consultant) promoted the contest to the region on the new VisitMillerBeach Facebook and Instagram pages. Contest photos were taken in Miller Beach, but submitted from all over the country. Vice President Jim Pappas presented the People’s Choice 1st Prize for Mary Lyman’s photo “Child’s Play”. Mary is a former Miller Beach resident, who lives in Colorado. Hilary and Jim Pappas of Miller Beach Vacation Rentals sponsored the People’s Choices Award. “This made the contest more fun and engaging” Jim remarked. “Voting brought people to our website and all of the content we’re building there.”
The Calumet Artist Residency judges whittled down the list of 375 submissions to the top 25, then picked 3 winners for the top grand prizes. Sam Love, President of the Calumet Artist Residency, provided context for the judging: “There were plenty of pictures of the beaches, but I was glad to see other parts of the neighborhood represented. Miller Beach is so much more than just beaches and woods. The cottage homes in our historic downtown district, plus hundreds of lovely mid-century modern homes are what truly define Miller’s character.”
Treasurer Cullen Ben-Daniel presented the Top Prize to Susan Kelly, a Miller Beach, Gary resident. Her winning photo “Lagoon in the Mist” depicted the historic bridges and Calumet Lagoon in Marquette Park. It drew gasps from the crowd for it’s beauty and ethereal quality. Susan was visibly moved as she walked up to claim her prize, “ I’m so shocked”, she said, “I was just taking one of my regular walks through town, and snapped this one with my iPhone. I thought it was beautiful, I’m glad you did too!” Second place went to Pat Bytnar for "A Drinking Town with a Fishing Problem." The third place photo was awarded to Thomas Semesky for "Mural Painting".
“We’re overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of the responses”, remarked Hilary Pappas, Chief Technology Officer. “We will be showcasing these photos and their inspiring descriptions on our website and social media, so that the world can enjoy them too.”
“The Legacy Foundation Knight Donor Advised Fund was the lead sponsor of the contest and helped the group hit the ground running.” “ Peggy Blackwell said as she thanked Carolyn Saxton, President of the Legacy Foundation.
Before the holidays, a VisitMillerBeach Calendar is planned to showcasing contest photos. The MBTB also is planning an annual event, and assisting the growing number of vacation rental owners. Partnering with the Miller Business Association and Shops On Lake Street, and the City of Gary, they promote businesses, activities, and community-based events. Miller Beach Tourism Bureau, an all volunteer group, is located in the Miller Beach neighborhood of Gary, Indiana.
Contact: Peggy Blackwell (810) 348-7380
My Miller Beach Photo Contest
1st Place Winner
“Lagoon in the Mist”
- by Susan Kelly
2nd Place Winner
"A Drinking Town with a Fishing Problem”
- by Pat Bytnar
3rd Place Winner
- by Thomas Semesky