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Flag daze

This Winter Park Communications Department design won praise from the City Commission.

This Winter Park Communications Department design won praise from the City Commission.

Isaac Babcock

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Flag Day may finally step out of holiday obscurity in Winter Park, as the city may soon unveil its first official flag. And that flag may be designed by a resident.

City staff had already drawn up some potential flag designs and showed them to the commissioners, who talked about their favorite at the Commission meeting on May 23.

“I thought that the flag that was recommended was lovely,” Commissioner Carolyn Cooper said. “I thought it was a tribute to our history, our elegance, our dedication to the arts.”

The flag that the Commission agreed was their favorite was set to be printed to fly at the city’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July celebration.

But not all of the commissioners liked it. Commissioner Steven Leary said the city’s current design wasn’t good enough.

“I think we’ve missed our communications objective,” Leary said. “What does this say about Winter Park? I don’t know if it meets from my perspective all that it needs to communicate on a flag pole.”

As the Commission was about to vote, Commissioner Tom McMacken came up with a new idea: Let residents design their own flag.

“I think we’re missing an opportunity here,” McMacken said. “I think this is a great idea to get the community involved … you could get a whole wall of sketches from first-graders.” He added, “I think it could be a great opportunity to turn it loose … and have some fun and community-building that gets everybody involved.”

With the most flag-related holiday on the calendar — Flag Day — arriving on June 14, the city had a new plan: Let residents create a new, permanent flag for the city, starting on Flag Day.

“Since it’s Flag Day, I want to roll it out on the 14th,” Communications Director Clarissa Howard said. “It’s going to be like a contest.”

That contest could see a resident’s design becoming the city’s official banner after city staff sifts through the hundreds of designs they’re expecting.

“We obviously need a flag that represents all of our community, and we want to get all the artists and community together to take a stab at it,” Mayor Ken Bradley said. “I think I fancy myself as some sort of an artist at heart, but I think the idea of someone with artistic expertise doing it is better than me doing it.”

Though the contest is scheduled to kick off on Flag Day, the details of it aren’t yet finalized, so the city doesn’t have a cutoff date for design entries. But by the end, the city hopes to finally have its first official flag 130 years after it was established.