DeKalb celebrates its 150th birthday

By Nancy Broten

Like a guest on the old television series “This is Your Life,” DeKalb County will be honored for its 150th birthday by competing photographers who captured a day in the life of DeKalb.

The DeKalb County Sesquicentennial will provide a year-long program of events in an effort to create a spirit of celebration among DeKalb County’s communities. There will be several events such as “The Oldest Farmhouse” contest, “The Oldest Working Auto” contest as well as the burial of a 1987 Time Capsule.

Although only one of several events, the photo contest “may be especially interesting to students who enjoy having their (photographic) work shown publicly,” DeKalb County Clerk Terry Desmond said.

There are many ways to interpret the theme, “The Pride of the Prairie.” The photographer can focus on including commercial, agricultural and residential facets, said Contest Chairman Sue Schwarzbach.

“For example, NIU is part of the pride of the prairie just as a local athletic team is. It doesn’t have to be a tractor in a field, but it could. The pride of the prairie could be a sunrise behind the courthouse,” Schwarzbach said.

Not one, but five photographers of various levels of expertise will be chosen as winners in one of the following divisions: “Juniors” (ages 13 and under), “Students” (14-20), “Adults” (21-60), “Senior Citizens” (60 and over), and “Professionals.”

“We want as many people as possible to participate to make this event memorable, so the contest is not limited to residents of DeKalb County,” Schwarzbach said.

A panel of five judges, who work and live in DeKalb County and have some expertise in the area of visual arts, will critique the photographs and notify the winners prior to July 1.

A plaque will be awarded to those photographers who can originally and artistically produce a photograph no larger than 11×14 (including mounting). However, “The real reward is having one’s pictures highlighted publicly,” Desmond said.

Following the award presentation on July 18, Schwarzbach said the photographs will possibly become part of a permanent display at the DeKalb County courthouse in Sycamore.

Entry forms are available for interested photographers in the NIU Art Department, and there will be a $1 entry fee to make the contest self-supportive. Photographs must be submitted to DeKalb’s Chamber of Commerce by May 1.