Cass County Parks Department hosting logo contest

CASSOPOLIS — Cass County creatives have the chance to put their mark on Cass County, thanks to a recently announced contest.

The Cass County Parks and Recreation Department announced last week a contest to design a new logo for Dr. Lawless International Dark-Sky Park, which is located nine miles east of Cassopolis on Monkey Run Street. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. March 10. Submissions may be made by email to pattyd@cassco.org or scottwy@cassco.org. Mail-in submissions can be addressed to Cass County Parks Department, 120 N. Broadway, Suite 200, Cassopolis, MI 49031. Winners, who will be chosen by the Cass County Parks and Recreation Department, will be announced at the grand opening of the Dark-Sky Park April 24-26.

Parks officials said logo submissions should be something simple and eye-catching that ties the park with its new designation of being an International Dark-Sky Park that will be identifiable on T-shirts, cups, caps and other items that will be marketed.

According to contest rules, all designs must be original, represent the Dark-Sky theme, not include any copyrighted material, be no larger than what will fit on an 8-and-a-half by 11-inch sheet, and preferably be in black and white. All contestants must include a signed release stating that the design will become the property of the Cass County Parks and Recreation Department, and as such, may be modified.

“The contest rules are really very simple, and we are looking forward to seeing what the community comes up with,” said Parks Director Scott Wyman. “We have so many talented and creative people in our area, and we hope they want to be part of this international opportunity.”

The idea for the contest came from County Administrator Jeff Carmen, who suggested getting the community involved with the creation of the park’s logo to the parks board.

“I think a contest is a great way of getting the broader community involved and to share the excitement of our Dark-Sky Park,” Carmen said. “Whether the logo comes from a young person or an established artist, it is a way to get inspiration out there. We have some very creative people in the county, and as this is of international significance, this is a great way to build excitement.”

While Carmen may have come up with the idea for the logo contest, he said the recognition belongs to Robert Parrish, a parks board member who spearheaded the efforts to have Dr. T.K. Lawless Park designated an International Dark Sky Park.

Parrish spent more than two years lobbying to have the Cass County park labeled an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. He worked to meet all required criteria, which includes achieving Dark-Sky friendly lighting, advocating for the protection of the night sky, having appropriate light readings and more.

Parrish said he is entirely on board with hosting a logo contest for the park, saying he is excited to see the new logo on merchandise in time for the grand opening.

“It’s great because we can get the community to have some skin in the game to share the importance of sharing the dark sky,” he said. “It creates an interest factor, and it lets people have some input.”

Both Parrish and Carmen said they would encourage any person or community group, regardless of age, to submit an entry to the contest.

“The more entries, the better,” Carmen said. “We are very proud [of the park], and we are very excited for the contest.”

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