Strangers to meet for big birthday bash

Contest: One hundred people from 50 states, born on the 4th of July in the 20th century, add up to one Kodak moment.

July 01, 1999|By Melody Holmes | Melody Holmes,SUN STAFF

To take the "Photo of the Century," there's no need for a fancy camera. The only equipment necessary is 100 people with good timing.

These people -- each born on a different Fourth of July of the 20th century and representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia -- are the winners of the "Photo of the Century" contest sponsored by Kodak.

The winners -- including two youngsters from Maryland, Chelsea Leigh Marsh and Casey Marsh -- were chosen from more than 25,000 entries from all over the United States, plus one entry each from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. One man even sent an entry from Israel on behalf of his mother, who lives in Harrisburg, Pa.

To be eligible, contestants had to submit proof that they were born on the Fourth of July with an essay explaining why they should be chosen to come to Philadelphia's Independence Hall on July 4 and be photographed with the other winners. Some applicants got creative and wrote songs about the "Photo of the Century." Others entered their July 4-born pets in the contest.

Event organizers say they heard from 169 sets of twins, eight sets of triplets and five sets of quadruplets, all born on July 4. The oldest applicant was a Texas man born in 1898.

Among the 99 winners who will represent each year from 1900 to 1999, the oldest is Betty Marx of Belleair Bluffs, Fla., who was born in 1900. The youngest so far is Nicole

Bobick of Hoover, Ala., born last year. But the organizers of the event intend to include a baby born in Philadelphia on the morning of July 4th of this year.

Maryland's representatives, Chelsea and Casey Marsh, are a sister and brother from Adamstown, in Frederick County. Chelsea was born in 1992, and Casey was born in 1995. Their mother, Brenda Marsh, says the two were very excited to learn they had been chosen. "They both think it's going to be a big birthday party for them," she said.

Marsh adds that the trip to Philadelphia will be the family's first, and young Casey's first ride on a train. Marsh admits to helping her children a bit with their application essays, but only because they are so young. "We all worked on them," she said.

Each winner receives round-trip airfare or train fare for two to Philadelphia, hotel accommodations for two and meals. Winners will also participate in a parade and receive complimentary souvenirs, including a "Photo of the Century" T-shirt.

Pub Date: 7/01/99

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