North Dakota Park Wins 2011 National Contest

When Coca-Cola encouraged American families to be active outdoors this summer, LivePositively, and vote for their favorite park, millions responded.

The second annual America Is Your Park campaign energized millions to get outdoors and rally around parks hit by natural disasters while igniting a fierce competition online, across the airwaves, and in newspapers across the country.

The votes are in and the people have spoken! Over 13 million votes were cast for their favorite parks online and from parks around the country this summer.

Oak Park in Minot, North Dakota emerged as the winner of “America’s Favorite Park” for 2011.

In addition to winning the prestigious title of “America’s Favorite Park,” Oak Park was awarded a $100,000 recreation grant made possible by the Coca-Cola Live Positively initiative.

The contest began to take off after grassroots support generated on Facebook. An enthusiastic group of supports, who dubbed themselves “Oakaholics,” voted thousands of times a day and spread the word for others to do likewise.

Between June 29 and the end of the contest (September 6), Oak Park had received almost 3.25 million votes. Between the end of the contest and Wednesday (September 28), votes were tabulated to insure that they were valid.

The grant money received from the contest will be a helpful boost in the arm for the Minot Park District. In a story that was printed in the July 20 issue of The Minot Daily News, director of parks Ron Merritt said that the funds would help “to put the park together again.”

The Soudan Underground Mine State Park, in Soudan, Minnesota, and Cunningham Park, in Joplin, Missouri, were the second and third place winners and will receive grants for $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.

“America’s parks are cherished places where families and friends can enjoy the natural beauty of the outdoors while being active and having fun,” said L. Celeste Bottorff, Vice President, Living Well, Coca-Cola North America. “This year, our friendly competition saw a number of communities come together to rally support for parks affected by natural disasters. We are honored to have been able to play a role in helping local communities give back to their favorite parks through the America Is Your Park campaign.

The competition to find “America’s Favorite Park” ignited social media platforms, mobilized entire communities, and even caught the attention of celebrities and local dignitaries. For the top three parks, each affected by some form of disaster in recent months, the competition brought additional attention and community support.

“The flood this past summer destroyed Oak Park and, for a large part, the spirit and hope in our community,” said Ron Bieri, President, Minot Park Board. “Thanks to Coca-Cola, the people of Minot are energized and through the grant we will be able to restore the park so families will have a place to play together again.”

Coca-Cola collaborated with the National Park Foundation, America’s State Parks, and the National Recreation and Park Association to award recreation grants to parks across the country. The grants will be used to restore, rebuild, or enhance places for people of all ages to be active outdoors. In addition to millions of online voters, many others came out to local health and wellness events hosted by Coca-Cola in select cities across the country.

Details

The Coca-Cola Company

Globally, the world’s largest provider of sparkling beverages, juices, and juice drinks, and ready-to-drink teas and coffees

Website: thecoca-colacompany.com

National Park Foundation

The official charity of America’s National Parks

Website: nationalparks.org

America’s State Parks

With over 6,000 units and more than 725 million visits, America’s State Parks works to enhance the American quality of life

Website: americasstateparks.org

National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA)

The leading advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks and recreation opportunities

Website: nrpa.org

Coca-Cola Live Positively

Learn more about Coca-Cola’s efforts in America’s parks

Website: livepositively.com

Note: This is the first of a two-part series on the second annual America Is Your Park campaign

Part 2: America Is Your Park

Worth Pondering…

For all of us have our loved places; all of us have laid claim to parts of the earth; and all of us, whether we know it or not, are in some measure the products of our sense of place.

—Alan Gussow

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