MANSFIELD — With only 230 days until Christmas, what better time to announce the winners of last year's Downtown Mansfield Holiday Lights Photo Contest?
This past December, Cleveland Financial sponsored its second-annual photo contest aimed at highlighting the holiday lights currently decorating downtown Mansfield. Photos submitted to the contest were encouraged to focus on the light displays in the downtown business district of Mansfield.
Photographers of all skill levels submitted their photos to an online gallery, where the winners were determined by number of votes. A total of 59 photos were judged by 1,583 online voters.
This year, first prize goes to Trevor Utt, whose photo "A Christmas Gazebo" earned 504 votes. Second places goes to Mark Shutt for "City lights" with 431 votes, and third places goes to Nicholas Petursson with 146 votes.
First prize will be awarded $500, second prize will be awarded $250, and third prize will be awarded $100, thanks to the generosity of Cleveland Financial.
The goal of the contest, according to Chuck Hahn of Cleveland Financial, is to document the current light displays in downtown Mansfield while also giving inspiration as to where the lights could expand in future years.
A Mansfield native, Trevor Utt remembers walking the square downtown and going to the toy store with his grandma. When he found out he won the contest, he said he couldn't wait to tell his son.
"I love photography and I've always been fascinated with cameras since I was young," Utt said. "Somebody told us about the contest and my son wanted to go take some photos, so we did!"
Mark Shutt has lived in the Mansfield area for more than 20 years, and loves to explore using photography. He decided to use his skills as a licensed drone pilot to capture Mansfield's downtown lights from an aerial perspective.
"I love it when local businesses are willing to invest in our downtowns and bring positive attention to the communities we live and work in," Shutt said. "I appreciate being able to be a part of that."
Since the contest, Nicholas Petursson has moved from his hometown of Mansfield to Texas in pursuit of joining the Air National Guard. When he saw the fountain and the flag together through the lens of his camera, he knew it would be a great photo.
"I really enjoy the small town America feeling you get in Mansfield," Petursson said. "You have the industrial area, the business area, the agricultural areas and the downtown nightlife portion that meshes well together to give a small town dynamic that is special to me."