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Photo wins local families a dream trip to Ireland
WINNERS — From left, Sarah Carter Hill, husband Jesse, Erik Person, wife Jessica, Matthew Delamater and wife Emily, pose for a photo that won them a trip to Ireland this summer.
OXFORD — Sarah Carter Hill, her two sisters and all three of their husbands, will soon be packing their bags and boarding a plane to Ireland, as winners of the Greening Season 2013 sweepstakes.
"We're really excited," said one of the sisters, Emily Delamater, Monday, on behalf of the group. The week-long trip is scheduled for June 30 to July 7.
Beginning with a simple ad on Facebook, all three sisters, who grew up in Oxford, and each of their husbands, gathered together to take a photo this winter to enter into a contest they never imagined they'd actually win, said Delamater.
"When we did it, I was thinking, 'why should we even bother? No one ever wins these things,'" she said. "It seemed like a silly thing to try, but I thought, 'whatever, it will be fun, so we will do it anyway.'"
Vacationing in Ireland together is something all three couples have been dreaming about doing for a while now, said Delamater, who has been to Ireland before, with her husband Matthew.
"We're all really close," she said, of the sisters and their husbands.
When she and Matthew visited Ireland last year, Delamater explained, they "fell in love with it so much ... and always envisioned it'd be the perfect place to revisit with friends and family."
So one day, her sister Sarah, on a whim, decided she would enter the group into the contest.
"She sent the link to all of us, and said, 'Let's do this,' let's enter a photo," Delamater said.
Erik Person, husband of the third sister, Jessica, said that had the three couples not won, the trip would never have been a reality.
"That's the best part of it," Person said.
Until he is physically sitting on the airplane, he said, he still can't believe they won. "It's my first trip to Europe," he said.
Carter Hill said Ireland is somewhere she's always dreamed of visiting. While on Facebook, after noticing the ad for the contest, she immediately clicked on the Tourism Ireland Facebook page, where the details of the contest were displayed.
"We've always talked about going on a trip together," Carter Hill said, Tuesday. "I thought it was perfect."
While gathered together at Carter Hill's house for her daughter's fourth birthday party, the group, clad in green Saint Patrick's Day attire, posed for a photo on a green couch as the snow fell from the wintery sky above.
"It just so happened that it was the night of the last big blizzard," said Delamater, a photographer who provided the camera equipment. She and her husband currently reside in Portland.
The other two couples live in Oxford.
"We made the boys carry the really, really heavy, old couch out into the snow, set up the camera and a tripod, put all of our green on and ... our mom [Anne Carter] was just pressing the button and took probably a couple hundred photos," Delamater explained.
Sponsored by Tourism Ireland, the "Greening Season" is a new social media campaign that targets the organization's 1.25 million Facebook users, to promote the island of Ireland as a holiday destination, according to Tourism Ireland's website.
According to Tourism Ireland, the "Great Green-Off," is a competition which invited people overseas to create and share their own "greening" video or picture.
The winner of the Great Green-Off wins a trip to Ireland with five friends, Delamater explained.
Of 3,400 entries globally, Delamater and her family were chosen as winners by the Great Green-Off's judging panel, she said.
"It's really wild," said Carter Hill.
The prize package includes a seven-day trip, with flights and hotel accommodation, Delamater said, along with tickets to a music festival that will take place while they are there.