Thank you to Experience Kissimmee for making this adventure possible. All opinions are my own.
And it’s official! Brooke Shuff has won a Decade of Kissimmee Memories! She’ll be sharing ten trips to Kissimmee, including a rental car and lodging at the Westgate Vacation Villas, with her husband Jonathan and their three kids, Charlie, Catherine, and Calvin. I was so excited to be able to share this past weekend with Brooke’s family and with all of the other finalists.
Brooke told me that she found out about this contest through a TV commercial. Being from Michigan, she wrote her essay submission about escaping from the harsh Michigan winters. When she found out that she was a semi-finalist, she tried to make her video as true to her essay as possible. Amazingly, this is the first time that she had even made a video. You can take a look at her efforts along with the videos of the other four finalists by going to the Experience Kissimmee Facebook page. I think that her video really resonated with a lot of voters. I mean, which parent hasn’t gotten their kids all dressed up to go out in the snow just to have them need to go potty?
On the day of the big reveal, Experience Kissimmee and Westgate Vacation Villas put on a great luncheon for the finalists and many of the area officials who have been a part of this contest’s conception and overall success.
The event started with a guest reception. The families arrived and were greeted by officials and media. Princess Scheherazade from the Arabian Nights production The American Princess was there and the kids had a great time meeting her after having watched her show earlier that weekend. The finalists were then ushered into the room to get settled at their seats before the rest of us were then invited in for the show.
Once we entered the room, some of the contest officials had a few words to say, including the owner of the Westgate Resorts. We were then treated to a lovely lunch and salsa music performed the Seguro Que Si Band, a local salsa band whose members are still in high school. They did a very nice job. The lunch consisted of a house salad, an entree with a well-cooked fillet, stuffed shrimp, bacon wrapped asparagus, and a twice-stuffed potato, and a cake with a caramel frosting. It was way better than the typical resort food that I’ve had in the past. They even had cake pops as decoration at all of the tables!
Over the course of the entire event, bloggers and contestants alike could be found on their phones taking pictures and posting them to various social media outlets. The shot with in a shot, the glow of the iPhone, all of the work behind each of the pictures that bloggers and other media publish are part of what make these events so fun and interesting to attend.
When it finally came time to announce the winner, you could just feel the tension in the air. Win or lose, I think all of the finalists were ready to know for sure. The anticipation was just becoming too much. When the big moment came, you could hear a pin drop. When the emcee announced Brooke’s name, her reaction was just priceless. Just take a look at this video and see for yourself.
I am so happy for Brooke. I know that she is excited to watch her children grow as she and Jonathan bring them back year after year for the next 10 years. Maybe next time, she can take Jonathan on an airboat ride. That was her favorite activity this past weekend. You know what? It was mine, too!