The competition is on, and already there’s an onslaught of bright smiles, mischievous grins, GQ poses, devlish squints and even a few serious scowls, along with some of the cutest kids web browsers are ever going to see.
They’re all participants in The Sampson Independent’s Cutest Kids Contest, which kicked off last Friday on the newspaper’s website, www.clintonnc.com, and continues through the announcement of winners on Father’s Day, June 19.
Registration is open through midnight Tuesday, May 31, with voting kicking off a minute later at 12:01 a.m. on June 1.
“It’s so thrilling to watch as entries come in,” said Althea Simpson, advertising director for The Sampson Independent. “I think people are having as much fun with this as I had hoped they would. And the entries, well they are some of the most precious children I’ve ever seen.”
Simpson urged all those wanting to participate in the contest to sign up before the deadline, and she stressed that anyone just interested in looking at all those cute entries can do so by clicking the Cutest Kids icon on the Independent’s home page, signing in with an email address and then just sitting back and letting the slide show take them through an album filled with, well, cuteness!
Already 119 entries have been posted, and that number gets ticking upward daily, sometimes minute by minute, as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and those who just want to promote a little darlin’ enter the youngsters and upload their photos.
Harrells Christian Academy is title sponsor of the online contest, with Ribeyes of Clinton as an age bracket sponsor. Both will be awarding prizes — HCA to the overall Cutest Kids winner (a $250 Walmart gift card) and Ribeyes to the winner in the ages 2-4 bracket (a $50 Ribeyes gift card.)
HCA headmaster Ron Montgomery said the school was delighted to be a part of anything that promotes children, and he touted the contest as a great way for people to earn bragging rights for their youngsters.
Kristen Cummings, who along with husband Trey, owns Ribeyes said they love children and love being involved with kid-oriented projects.
“We hope everyone will participate. It’s fun and it’s a great way to show off your kids,” Cummings said.
By all indications, many are already hopping on board the contest train, and there’s plenty of time left for others to get on board,too.
So far, entered children have ranged in age from birth to 8 or 9 years old (the contest allows children birth to 12 years old). Some are listing their names and posting comments like “cute little devil,” “great smile, greater attitude,” “mischievious little one,” “sleeping baby” and “blue-eyed bandit.”
Entries are coming from across the area, including Clinton, Autryville, Newton Grove, Faison and Knightdale.
“Everyone is so excited about this,” said SI editor Sherry Matthews. “Everywhere I go, I hear people talking about all those cute children. And why wouldn’t they talk about it? They are all adorable.”
There’s no charge to enter — or to vote when the time comes. The only requirement is an email address.
“We hope people will continue to take part in this contest,” said SI publisher Jules Molenda, “and have fun while they’re doing it.”