Paddle, shoot, submit. Two photo contests have upcoming deadlines to capture the Blueway and Caloosahatchee.
The first deadline is Thursday, Sept. 13, for the first Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival's "Show Your True Colors" contest on Facebook.
"We're looking for pictures of kayaks, canoes or SUPs (Stand Up Paddle-boards) that are decorated or tricked out or geared up or just outrageously colored. Anything that catches your eye will be perfect," said Betsy Clayton, Waterways coordinator, Lee County Parks & Recreation.
The second photo contest, the annual Calusa Blueway Photo Contest, will deadline Oct. 5. "We are looking for picturesque shots of our wildlife and waterways."
It is a mix of the old and new, she said. "This is the first-ever Facebook photo contest for us. This is the fifth annual Calusa Blueway Photo Contest."
Submissions for the Facebook contest will be accepted now through Thursday. To enter, post a fun photo of yourself with your canoe, kayak or paddle board, she said. Then get your Facebook friends (and their friends, too) to vote for your photo from Sept. 17 to 27.
The Facebook photo with the most votes at the end of the contest will win the Grand Prize, a two-night stay at the Residence Inn by Marriot Fort Myers/Sanibel, two SUP lessons from XtremeLife Sports, a $50 gift card for outdoor clothing at Naples Kayak Company, a guided tour for two from Tarpon Bay Explorers and more.
Visit the festival's Facebook page at Facebook.com/CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival to post a photo. No entry fees exist; amateur photographers are encouraged to submit pictures.
People can enter both the Show Your True Colors and the Calusa Blueway Photo Contest.
The latter contest has an entry deadline of Oct. 5, with three categories:
n Paddlers on the trail: people enjoying the trail, waterways and outdoors.
n Nature photography: wildlife on the trail.
n Signs along the blueway: Calusa Blueway markers, access points, fun spots and more.
Prizes for that second contest will come from sponsors Fort Myers-based Harmon Photographers as well as ABC Framing, a Lehigh Acres-based mobile-framing business.
"First-place winners will receive an enlarged, matted and framed version of their photos. Winning entries also may be published in magazines, newspapers and online products, and for promotional use of the blueway and festival."
Selected entries may also be featured on several websites, including the blueway site, calusablueway.com, the festival site, calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com and on the festival's Facebook page, Clayton said.
"New this year, the photo contest reception will be combined with the Thursday, Nov. 1, kickoff event at the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival. Winners and runners-up will be recognized during the reception at the festival's signature lodging site, Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Myers-Sanibel. The festival itself will have evening events at the Residence Inn with daytime activities on the Sanibel Causeway with activities throughout Lee County."
The Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival has been selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society's Top 20 Events for 2012. Dates are Nov. 1 through 4.
The popular event includes paddling equipment demos, speakers, on-water demonstrations, three evening paddler's socials with refreshments, children's activities, photo contest, fishing tournament, film festival, family fun race, bluegrass music, hearty local restaurant fare and more.
Many come from all over the U.S. to attend, and special hotel, motel and campground rates are available.
More details are available at calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com.
Call 533-7474 with questions or email firstname.lastname@example.org.