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Sweet Home makes pitch to HGTV makeover contest

Sweet Home makes pitch to HGTV makeover contest

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Sweet Home’s 9,000 residents “aren’t afraid of getting dirty and getting it done,” narrator Emma Fitzsimons says in a 3-minute video developed by community volunteers and submitted to the HGTV's "Home Town Takeover" contest.

"Home Town" series hosts Ben and Erin Napier plan to select one community with fewer than 40,000 residents for a makeover, much like they do with individual homes. Numerous towns across America have submitted their own entry videos.

Sweet Home Community Development Director Blair Larsen said local videographer Brian Hutchings, who has more than 30 years of experience working on movies in Los Angeles and specializes in color correction, put the entry together. Hutchings worked on a 2014 documentary about backup singers, "20 Feet From Stardom," that won an Oscar for Best Documentary.

“Brian has done other videos for the community and he lives in Crawfordsville,” Larsen said. “We took the input we received from two public meetings and developed a script, and Brian ran with it.”

Sweet Home native Fitzsimons, who recently auditioned for "American Idol," was at ease talking about her hometown before a camera. The 2015 SHHS graduate playfully welcomes viewers to “Sweet Home — pause — Oregon,” and jokes, “I bet you thought I was going to say that other state.”

In the video, she discusses the community’s rich history as a logging community, noting that it had 13 mills at one time. She emphasizes the city's natural scenic beauty at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, the Santiam River that flows through the heart of town and nearby Foster and Green Peter reservoirs. She also talks about local industry, pointing out that the downtown business area could use some aesthetic improvements.

The Oregon Jamboree music festival is featured, and Fitzsimons calls it the largest country music festival in Oregon, put on by many volunteers. An original composition by local artist Jobe Woolsey provides the video's background music. Don Knight caps the presentation by leading a loud cheer at a Sweet Home Huskies basketball game.

“Now we wait,” Larsen said. “The deadline was Friday and I tried to upload it, but the HGTV website was down. I got in contact with them and they helped us upload to another link.

“I think the end product turned out great,” Larsen added. “The school district folks were very cooperative. The only cost was some staff time. Everything else was pro bono and we really appreciate everyone who helped make this possible. We have nothing to lose with this.”

View Sweet Home’s entry at http://bit.ly/2OIPZau.

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