By Peggy Mackenzie
Connie Manchester of Lewisburg was one of three winners in America in Bloom’s “How Does Your Town Measure Up Against America’s Prettiest” photo contest which celebrates beauty in American communities. Manchester’s photos showcased the Greenbrier Valley’s overall beauty. The winners were announced on Oct. 2 in Philadelphia during the America in Bloom Symposium & Award Program.
“Connie’s photography captured the spirit of Lewisburg, showcasing its floral displays, landscaped areas, heritage preservation, and community pride,” said Laura Kunkle, America in Bloom executive director. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Connie’s photos told a beautiful story.”
Photos were judged by a panel of photography experts, marketing professionals, and America in Bloom volunteers. Manchester submitted 18 photos for the contest.
Manchester says when she left home for college, her father gave her a Kodak Instamatic camera. That was the first time she had the opportunity to handle a camera. She cites her grandfather’s interest in photography in the early 1900s as an additional motivational source, although being comfortable behind the lens took a few years to take hold.
Nowadays, it’s fortunate she’s found like-minded participants to go on photo junkets with because she has worn husband, John Manchester’s, patience pretty thin whenever they are out walking together. For Connie Manchester, a mile and a half walk may take seven hours. Wildlife, landscapes, and animal shots are what usually attracts her photographic eye. Several fine examples of Manchester’s wildlife photography were featured earlier this year in an exhibit at Carnegie Hall.
Manchester said in a telephone interview she hopes to use the $1,500 prize money she received from America in Bloom as a way to give back to the city. As the wife of the city’s mayor, Manchester’s commitment to Lewisburg is sincere.
America in Bloom is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation that envisions communities across the country as welcoming and vibrant places to live, work, and play – benefiting from colorful plants and trees; enjoying clean environments; celebrating heritage; and planting pride through volunteerism.