Fresh crocus photos get prizes in Arden


By John Dietz

Lansdowne Heritage Resources & Tourism Committee

It’s time, the wild prairie crocus is stretching out from below the brown grasses of last fall and getting ready to bloom. It’s also time to get out the camera for fresh crocus photos.

Youth and adults will be competing for more than $500 in prize money offered for the 2015 Crocus Photo Contest at Arden MB.

This year’s early spring promises to provide lots of opportunities for photographers to find and photograph the provincial wild flower, says John Dietz, contest organizer and secretary to the sponsor Lansdowne Heritage Resources & Tourism Committee (LHRTC).

Contest photos must be as fresh as the season - taken this April, in Manitoba. Normal full-bloom stage is about a week on either side of April 15.

Entries close at midnight Sunday, April 26. All photos in the contest are displayed a week later at Arden’s Crocus Festival on Saturday, May 2.

Manitoba has many small, scattered patches of wild Prairie crocus. The fragile, mauve or purple- colored wildflower prefers sandy, sunny and undisturbed native grassland, and can be hard to find.

Arden still has a few acres of native grassland that bloom abundantly with crocus for about two weeks, and the village welcomes visiting photographers.

Arden is located 6 km north of the Yellowhead Highway, on the old Fort Ellice Trail, and about 160 km west/northwest of Winnipeg.

The contest is open for all residents of Manitoba, except professional photographers. Sponsors put up the cash for 16 prizes in four categories, with separate competitions for youth and adults.

Independent judging is provided again in 2015 by Photo Central in Winnipeg. The photography store donates 8x10-inch prints of all the digital entries.

Crocus Festival headquarters, the Arden Community Centre, is the scene of a one-day photo gallery where all flower pictures are displayed and judged for a second time.

Visitors participate by voting for their favorite youth and adult crocus photo in the hall. This becomes the People’s Choice Award, an event sponsored by the Manitoba Co-operator. People’s Choice winners are published by the farm newspaper and awarded $50 each.

There are no fees for entering the contest, and no admission fees at the family-oriented event.

Contest details can be obtained from the municipal website, where winners are displayed from the previous contest.

The four classes include portraits of a single crocus flower, portraits of crocus clusters (3 to 20 flowers), portraits of crocus in its natural prairie habitat, and creative crocus portraits that don’t fit the other classes.

All photos submitted are eligible for the gallery display at the Crocus festival. Digital entries will be printed and included in the gallery, at the discretion of contest officials. The hall can accommodate approximately 160 photos.

Digital entries can be submitted to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Prints can be mailed to: Crocus Photo Contest, P O Box 141, Arden MB R0J 0B0. Prints can be left in person at the RM of Lansdowne office in Arden and at Photo Central in Winnipeg.

The Arden Crocus Festival, which began in 2001, is held on the first Saturday in May. This is the seventh year for the Crocus Photo Contest.

Crocus festival visitors can take in a pancake breakfast and other family-oriented activities throughout the day. It ends with a self-serve supper and local entertainment. Photo contest winners are announced after supper.

Known as the Crocus Capital of Manitoba, Arden is home to the World’s Largest Crocus monument and has a population of 150 people. It is centered in the farming region between the Red River, Saskatchewan and North Dakota.

Anyone interested and wishing to get more information, is asked to contact John Dietz, the LHRTC secretary at (204) 368-2274; or Rod Shuttleworth, the LHRTC co-chair at (204) 368-2229.