Not even an endorsement on social media from Scott McCreery could propel Garner for a win in the Hometown Showdown competition.
Garner’s picture was its Veterans Memorial in White Deer Park during sunset. Fuquay-Varina’s picture was the town’s first post office, built in 1902.
The contest was hosted by the N.C. League of Municipalities. Thirty-two teams competed in a bracket style game, where the photo with the most likes after a week advances to the next round.
Despite Garner’s photo being one of the most liked in the competition, it was never really close. After the first couple of days, Fuquay-Varina led Garner, 1,167 to 446 likes for their picture. Later that night, they led 1,747 to 1,159. That’s when McCreery gave Garner a shoutout on Twitter and Facebook.
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McCreery has 900,000 followers on Twitter and more than 2 million on Facebook. It managed to close the gap slightly, but in the end it just wasn’t enough. They lost 2,597 to 1,817.
Even after the results were tallied, people were still liking Fuquay’s photo.
How its photo beat Garner’s is unclear and the town of Fuquay-Varina was tight-lipped about it.
“I cannot give away our secrets because we have to face Clayton next week,” Susan Weis, a spokeswoman for the town of Fuquay-Varina, said with a laugh. “We just have a great community and they really got behind us. There’s just a lot of pride and a lot of spirit here.”
She said the strategy was to come out strong. Melissa Champlion took the photograph.
“We had a great time doing it and we hope Garner had a great time as well,” Weis said. “It brings about a lot of positive things for both towns. I’m sure they feel as much pride as we do for all the positive comments. That’s the beautiful things about this.”
Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said he wasn’t too disppointed the town’s photo loss. He said he and Fuquay’s mayor John Byrne talked everyday during the competition. And on some occasions he would look at the votes throughout the night.
“It was a good exercise and the intent in my opinion is to get folks more accustomed to using social media, and that was accomplished more in Fuquay than in Garner,” Williams said. “Their support outworked us. Plain and simple.”
Fuquay will advance to face Clayton’s photo of fireworks in the night’s sky. Clayton’s photo only garnered 333 likes by the end of the competition but their opponent, Angier, could only accumulate 136 likes.
Last year, Garner’s photo of Williams and McCreery made it all the way to the Final Four. This is the second year they have participated. A first-round exit was not expected.
And just like the NCAA tournament, it was March madness.
Who do you think?
Check out the two photos at this link, and comment which town’s photo you thought should have won.