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It’s official:  Meet the winners of the I Love St. Croix Photo Contest!

We asked you to submit a photograph that shows us why you love St. Croix, and the response was astounding…over 1,100 entries!

Our panel of judges had the challenging task of choosing a winner in each of six categories: history, romance, watersports, fitness, food, and adventure.   Winners were judged based on originality, creativity, and the ability of the photo to convey the category as well as the over arching theme “I Love St. Croix”.  

Each of the six winners will receive $1,000 in vouchers from the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association to use towards participating hotels, car rentals, and activities.

We congratulate each of our participants, finalists, and winners on their beautiful St. Croix photos, thank you for sharing the love!

-Read on to find out the story behind the photo and what the photographer loves about St. Croix!

 

#adventure

Winner  :  Caledonia Waterfalls  :  Chelsea Radley, Perrysville, OH

Winner#adventure_chelsea-radleyChelsea-Radley_150pxAbout the Photo: Taken on a hike on the west side of the island. We hiked up a creek that was mostly dry and got our feet covered with ants. The waterfalls we encountered were beautiful and the bits of history along the way (old foundations) were so neat to see. My husband was helping my son (in front) and my daughter (on his back) get up the steeper part of the rock climb. We made it all the way up to see yet another waterfall and a little pool. The picture was just such a sweet reminder that Daddy always helps his kids get through the tough stuff. We always are ready for an adventure.

Why I Love St. Croix: My in-laws live and teach at Freewill Baptist Christian School in Estate Sion Hill. We fly down once a year to visit and I fell in love with the island. I love St. Croix because of the beauty of the island, the beaches, the unique changes from one end of the island where it’s rainforest to the other where it is dryer, and the beautiful history of the island. Not to mention the fact that I fly down to get warm when it’s freezing up here in Ohio. I love it so much that my camp name at the summer camp we run is Stx.

 

#fitness

Winner  :  Isaac’s Bay  :  Dustin Floyd, Deadwood, SD 

Winner#fitness_Dustin-FloydFloyd_Photo_150px About the Photo: We’d heard great things about Isaac’s Bay, including a great recommendation from Holly at the St. George Village Botanical Gardens. We love hiking and we love great beaches, so we planned a day trip. We knew that other members of our family would be visiting St. Croix, so I took photos to share with them so they could plan their visit. Being enamored with my wife, she generally ends up in the frame somewhere, and I snapped several shots of her in the breeze on the trek down the hillside. It was just a quick shot on my smartphone, but it turned out pretty well.

Why I Love St. Croix: I visited St. Croix for the first time this year, it was my first visit to a Caribbean island. My grandmother decided to winter there, and she invited my wife and I to stay with her for a couple of weeks. I grew up in the Black Hills of western South Dakota, which I love because of its fantastic outdoor recreation and history. St. Croix has a real similar mix, but on a different end of the spectrum. At home, I have mountain biking and the Wild West; on St. Croix, I have snorkeling and ancient sugar plantations. That blend of the outdoors and connecting with the past really speaks to me. 

 

#food

Winner  :  Street Food  :  Will Barnes, Seattle, WA

Winner#food_will-barnes Will-Barnes_150px

About the Photo: I took this photo during the 2010 Ironman Jump Up in Christiansted…pretty sure I was hungry that night, it was one of many street (food) scenes. Only St. Croix can make a hot dog from a street vendor seem like the greatest cuisine ever created.

I Love St. Croix: I sell industrial power generation equipment for a living…photography is just a hobby. I was just in St. Croix a couple months ago (5/1 – 5/15) and proposed to my girlfriend while I was there. I wanted the proposal to take place somewhere very special; it was my 4th trip to the island and her first time there.  No date is set for the wedding, but late next year is the rough target. I love St. Croix because things operate at a different tempo there; anybody that’s been there knows that’s a good thing…that’s why the island is special in so many ways. 

 

#history

Winner  :  Scale House  :  Alison Urbanek,  Kill Devil Hills, NC

Winner#history_alison-urbanek urbanek_150px

About the Photo: On my first trip to the island, we went to Christiansted. I loved the scale house. I loved the multi colors of yellow and the old shutters, especially the ironwork on the stairs. It just spoke to me to capture its beauty, which I attempted to do.

Why I Love St. Croix: What I love about STX is how rural the island still is (West is Best), I love the people of St. Croix, of course the winter weather. I love to snorkel and spend as much of my time as possible doing that. I have been coming to St. Croix for the last 8 winters to vacation and help the Brown Family with the property of Northside Valley Historical Estate. They consider me a sister from another mother and father.

 

#romance

Winner  :  Footprints in the sand  :  Jackie Begina, Killingworth, CT 

Winner#romance_jackie-begina_footprintsJackie-Begina_150pxAbout the Photo: This picture was taken at Sandy Point late in the afternoon. Bob and I were walking down the stretch of beach and turned around only to see our footprints in the sand. I had to take that picture! We enjoyed a Sunday afternoon there with family and had a great time.

Why I Love St. Croix: I love St Croix because of how relaxed I felt while there. I loved the people we met, they were all so nice to us. I loved where we stayed, we felt at home. I love the laid back atmosphere, nothing fancy we just went as we were comfortable. The food was great; the beaches; hiking to Annaly Bay; driving around the island; the reasons go on and on. I love St. Croix!

 

#watersports

Winner  :  Discovering Arrow Crab  :  Shanin Speas-Frost, Tallahassee, FL

Winner#watersports_shanin-spears-frost Speas-Frost_150pxAbout the Photo: This photo was taken during our family vacay in St. Croix last summer. It was the first time both our children really got to experience real snorkeling (then 6 and 4). They immediately took to exploring the shoreline reef right off of the little beach at the Buccaneer just like I used to when I was their age. This photo shows my daughter discovering an arrow crab. Please note, the arrow crab was not harmed in the encounter.

Why I Love St. Croix: I lived on St. Croix from about 6 mos. to 12 yrs old, then moved to the Florida Keys. I went back often to visit with my mom, who was born and raised on the island. Now I try to bring my own family (husband  & kids) down as often as I can. I am a professional engineer with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, where I promote the use of Reclaimed Water. St. Croix will always be home to me. It’s laid back and warm, perfect blue water and lots of activities. Its a great mix of tropical, hilly, flat, sandy, rocky, crazy, calming, commercial and isolated with its rain forest in the West End, cliffs on the North Shore, rolling hills and lagoons on the South Shore, and the dry but fantastically colorful East End. What’s not to love. 

 

most votes overall

Rudy the Chicken  :  Buffi Dudley, Concord, NH

#iLoveSTX-Chicken-#foodAlthough this photo was not selected as the winner in #food category by our judges, it deserves ‘honorable mention’  for having received the most votes overall in the contest.  As the highest vote-getter, GoToStCroix.com is awarding this contestant a set of St. Croix posters from GoToStCroix.com’s Original Poster Series.  Congratulations!

 

Thank You to the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association

The sponsor of the “I Love St. Croix” Photo Contest is a non-profit organization called the St. Croix Hotel and Tourism Association.  It is comprised of hard-working individuals who are involved with the tourism industry.  The member businesses – hotels, tour operators, attractions, car rentals, restaurants  and retail shops have all generously donated prizes to our six winners for their next trip to St. Croix.

A note from the Editors of  GoToStCroix.com

We’d like the thank everyone who entered our contest and shared with us your favorite St. Croix photos.  We really enjoyed seeing St. Croix through your eyes and in some cases, getting a glimpse into the ‘story’ behind the photo.   There was a lot more time spent on this contest than originally anticipated and for that we do appreciate your patience as we made sure each step was carefully implemented.  

The contest was administered by 3rd party application software that proved to have many limitations. It was not only evident to us but to our entrants as well (based on feedback received)  just how poor the voting interface was.  At the end of the voting period, 75% of the 1100+ entries had 5 or less votes due to the manner in which photos were displayed by the software.  Therefore, we concluded that the 3rd party app created an unfair advantage in the voting process. A ruling was made (per the terms and conditions) to consider not only the top 5 entries with the highest number of votes in each category, but also any qualified photo that conveyed the theme “I Love St Croix” and the category in which it was entered.  Those 5 finalists in each category were judged by the panel.  The judges’ and sponsor’s decisions are final and binding.

To us,  the contest was not about Facebook likes, in fact that was not a requirement  to participate.  It is about how much you love St. Croix.  In the end, we are excited to (finally) award six winners with great prizes, and we are happy to be able to share the 1100+ photos you’ve submitted to help promote St. Croix… to attract visitors who, like you, will fall in love with our special island and enjoy its many attributes for years to come.

GoToStCroix.com thanks you once again for your participation!