Postcard contest to 'showcase' city

Visitors to Federal Way this summer will have something more than a sunburn to take home from their vacation. Federal Way will soon have its own postcards.

“We needed some images to showcase the wonderful amenities here in Federal Way,” said Delores Shull, president of the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce. “We know there are some wonderful images out there and we wanted to capture them and distribute them throughout the world.”

The city and the Chamber are sponsoring a postcard contest, open to all residents who can point and click a camera. The contest runs through May 30. A $200 prize will be awarded to the originator of each selected photograph.

The city hopes the contest will result in six to eight entries being chosen as postcards of Federal Way. The completed products will hit gift shops and hotel lobbies by July.

“It’s a way of increasing the profile of the city, the visibility of the city,” said Patrick Doherty, deputy director of the city’s Community Development Services. “Although we could come up with all the images ourselves, we thought we could get some help from the community, instead of just imposing the postcards.”

So what local sites will residents deem worthy to be made into a postcard?

Celebration Park with Mount Rainier in the background? The sunset at Dash Point? Evening traffic and road construction on 320th?

“There’s so many opportunities for great images, it would be hard to choose just one,” Shull said.

An interesting photograph of local site is the key to a good postcard, said postcard expert Carl Seiler, who operates a collector’s Web site.

“Interestingly, (in the past) major postcard printers had very generic country roads, streams, and pastoral scenes that could be printed with a simple, “Greetings from YOUR TOWN HERE” type message,” Seiler said. “I certainly don’t suggest that Federal Way take this option, but it is an amusing historical fact.

“It’s very rare for medium-sized cities to have postcards today,” Seiler said. “The golden age of postcards certainly has passed.”

The idea for the postcards came from the city’s Lodging Tax Advisory Commission, which promotes tourism in Federal Way.

“The committee was concerned about the fact that there really are no postcards from Federal Way,” Doherty said. “We have a lot of visitors that come here, especially with our sports venues like Celebration Park and the aquatic center. If they want to send a postcard to grandma in Iowa, they might send a postcard of Mount Rainier or Seattle, because nothing really says Federal Way on it.”

The cost to print and distribute the postcards is $600 for 6,000 cards. According to the city’s lawyers, the committee can give away postcards, but if a vendor wants to sell them, the committee must sell the postcards to that vendor.

The city has received only one entry so far, but expects intrest to grow, Doherty said.

The Lodging Tax Advisory Commission consists of Deputy Mayor Dean McColgan, Shawn Cummins of Marriott International, Scott Brown of Federal Way Best Western Executel, David DeGroot of the Weyerhaeuser Company Bonsai Collection, and Barbara Reid of the Federal Way Symphony.

Staff writer Cole Cosgrove can be reached at 925-5565 and

How to enter

Send photographs/slides to Patrick Doherty, deputy director, City of Federal Way Community Development Services, P.O. Box 9718, Federal Way, WA 98063-9718. Call (253) 661-4106.

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