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Airdrie Festival of Lights Society names winner of design contest

By: Allison Chorney

  |  Posted: Thursday, May 29, 2014 12:23 pm

Erin Phillips from the Airdrie Festival of Lights Society (left) and Airdrie's Shawnee Hoffman unveil Hoffman's winning design May 21, for the Airdrie Festival of Lights new display to be completed for next season. Hoffman won a Creative Airdrie and Airdrie Festival of Lights Society competition to create a new train-themed display for the December festival and the $1,100 prize that came with it.
Erin Phillips from the Airdrie Festival of Lights Society (left) and Airdrie's Shawnee Hoffman unveil Hoffman's winning design May 21, for the Airdrie Festival of Lights new display to be completed for next season. Hoffman won a Creative Airdrie and Airdrie Festival of Lights Society competition to create a new train-themed display for the December festival and the $1,100 prize that came with it.
Matt Durnan/Rocky View Publishing

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The design for a new locomotive display at the Airdrie Festival of Lights was unveiled May 21, at the Airdrie Festival of Lights Society’s (AFOLS) annual general meeting and design contest winner Shawnee Hoffman was on hand to receive her $1,100 prize.

“I’m super happy and honoured they picked me,” Hoffman said. “I can’t wait to see it up in lights every December.”

Hoffman won the AFOLS and Creative Airdrie contest to design a new locomotive design theme that was announced in December 2013 and ran until March 15. Her design is of an old-fashion train with a teddy bear conductor and includes elements of movement. Movement includes the teddy bear waving, the wheels turning and the smoke billowing all thanks to some creative lighting techniques.

Though the contest received only five entries, AFOLS Director Erin Phillips said it was still a success.

“It was a great way to show our community involvement to include artists from Airdrie and the surrounding areas,” she said in an email to Airdrie City View.

“When I think of locomotive I was thinking an old-style train,” Hoffman said of her inspiration for the design. “Instead of Santa driving it like you’d normally see, I thought ‘why not put a teddy bear with a Santa hat.’”

Hoffman is known around town for her work as a face painter and special effects artist with her company Artsy Fartsy and is a big part of the annual Zombie Cup. She is also contributing to this year’s AIRdirondack Art Project and is currently creating the design for last year’s blank chair in which the buyer got to decide what would be on the chair.

She added she thinks kids will like the addition of the teddy bear to the train design.

Hoffman said she was encouraged to enter the contest by several friends and decided to do it because, “It just seemed like a fun thing to do and what better than to have your design in lights?”

Runners up for the contest included Clayton Richards, Roxanne Richards, Crystal Richards and Breanna Miller, who all received $100 for their designs.

Hoffman said she hasn’t gotten all the details yet but is expecting to get more information on the next steps to actually begin creating the display soon.

The artist said she believes she will be working with a local metal worker to bring the design to life and is very excited to get started.

She has an opportunity to earn an additional $1,000 prize if, in January 2015, she chooses to design a train car as a second part of the display.

The Airdrie Festival of Lights runs all of December at Nose Creek Park and was named one of Canada’s Festive Christmas Cities in 2013 in Reader’s Digest Canada.


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