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Another chance for national contest prize

A screen capture of the America's Main Streets website: www.mainstreetcontest.com

Red Wing is back in the national spotlight for another chance at a multi-thousand dollar prize.

Red Wing Downtown Main Street was named a quarterfinalist in the America's Main Streets contest sponsored by Stihl. The winning main street will receive $25,000 in cash and related prizes to help with revitalization.

"Main Streets are really the heartbeat of America's cities and towns," a statement on the contest's website reads. "They play an important part in the long-term success of communities and really help build a sense of place. When Main Streets are strong, so are the communities that surround them."

Red Wing Downtown Main Street Executive Director Megan Tsui said she was cautious before entering another contest in the wake of the Small Business Revolution voting frenzy earlier this year.

"Were people too tired to support another contest? We had to ask ourselves if we were ready," Tsui said.

She tested the waters — via social media —to gauge people's interest in another voting contest. A post to Facebook gained well over the 50-person support mark Tsui set for herself to go forward and apply for the America's Main Streets contest.

This application process differed from the Small Business Revolution contest, Tsui said.

"This was more of a self-nomination," she said. "It was public voting that got us into the top 25."

Northfield and Shakopee join Red Wing in the 25 quarterfinalists.

"I was shocked," Tsui said, recalling when she learned Red Wing was named a quarterfinalist. "We didn't try," she said, "we just put our name out there."

An online vote May 1-28 will determine the semifinalists. The winner will be announced June 5.

Some recent voting support from another community highlights the strong community engagement in Red Wing, Tsui said.

She was recently contacted by citizens from Bristol Borough, Pa., who said they are spreading the online link and voting for Red Wing. Bristol Borough narrowly beat Red Wing in February's $250,000 Small Business Revolution contest.

"If they still believe in us, I think we can't be too tired," Tsui said. "We can be strong and push through and come together for our community."

After witnessing the community support during Small Business Revolution voting, Tsui said she hopes the Red Wing community will once again come together.

"People really do love the small businesses here and are not afraid to pull out all the stops show to support — it's truly special," she said.

People can vote once per day here at www.mainstreetcontest.com.

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