LEWISTON — “City of Big Ideas”: To Donna Wesson, it means Lewiston-Auburn offers plenty of things to do, to see and to experience.

“It means having activities, like music, that keep people busy and out of trouble,” said Wesson, 56, of Greene.

She and and her fiance of 15 years, George Stanley, submitted that phrase, which was the favorite among readers voting in the Sun Journal’s New Slogan contest. It was one of 47 that Stanley submitted to the paper, and one of 30 that he and Wesson came up with together.

“It’s the scattershot approach,” Stanley said Friday. “You submit 47 and one of them is bound to be a winner.”

In February, inspired by an entry in the Sun Journal’s Looking Back column detailing a 1913 slogan contest of the Lewiston Chamber of Commerce, Sun Journal Executive Editor Rex Rhoades asked readers to come up with new slogan for the Twin Cities, promising a $20 bill in a gold-colored envelope to the creator of the most popular one. (The 1913 contest winner — Everett Fogg — received a $20 gold coin.)

Readers suggested 151 possible taglines. The most common words among them? After “LA,” “Cities,” “Lewiston” and “Auburn” were positive words such as “Great,” “Future,” “We” and “Renaissance.”

From the original 151 suggestions, Sun Journal staff picked 14 favorites, but we put the whole thing to a vote and asked readers to pick their favorites. We received 382 ballots — either electronically or via postal mail.

Most votes were cast for one of the SJ’s 14 favorites, but 169 votes were cast for other taglines from the 151 original submissions or brand-new ones. New submissions included “Mill Around L/A,” “L.A. Great Expectations” and the evocative “Close your eyes, it smells like bread.”

One wag suggested the Twin Cities’ new theme should center on a certain breed of dog: They submitted 10 ballots with suggestions including “L/A: Two cities, one Corgi,” “Corgiland Empire” and “City of Small Dogs (Corgis Preferred).”

People had fun with the process, especially Stanley and Wesson. The pair submitted their first list of entries the day the contest started, a single piece of paper with a list of 30 handwritten taglines dropped off at the Sun Journal’s front desk.

“I’m very good at coming up with bumper-sticker theology,” Stanley said. “You get your ideas across in the least amount of words, like a Haiku poem.”

No. 6 on that list was “City of Big Ideas.”

“We were talking, and it just popped into my head,” she said. “We just decided to write it down.”

Stanley is known around the area as the proprietor of a would-be junk shop on Route 202 in Greene near the Leeds town line — the one with the cluttered yard and the alien on the roof.

Both are from New Hampshire originally, but they call the Twin Cities and the surrounding area home.

“It’s a hidden, upcoming gem in Maine,” Stanley said. “It’s just reaching its prime on all levels. You have everything you need there. It’s a microcosm of a megalopolis.”

Its offerings range from the Bates College campus to the inner city, from Kennedy Park to busy Lisbon Street, he said.

“That was all boarded up when I first moved here,” Stanley said. “It’s not anymore. There are actual businesses and a lot of people from all different cultures up and down it now. It’s a miniature global marketplace.”

Unfortunately, Stanley and Wesson were not in town Friday to collect their prize-filled golden envelope. Feral cats at a property they own in New Hampshire somehow turned on the shower, flooding the bathroom. The pair had to run out of town to fix the problem and won’t be back until next weekend.

Their entry was the winner by a close vote. Former Lewiston City Councilor Bob Reed submitted two similar entries, “Great Falls, Great Cities! Lewiston-Auburn, a great place to be” and “Great Falls, Great People.” They came in second and third, respectively, in the voting.

“The falls are what brings the two cities together,” Reed said. “I know that Auburn doesn’t want to lose its identity to Lewiston and Lewiston doesn’t want to lose its identity. But maybe, if you talk about ‘Great Falls, Maine,’ you have a fresh start.”

Perhaps it could be a new name for the Chamber of Commerce, Reed suggested.

“The river is what joins the two cities and the falls are pretty special,” Reed said. “People don’t have something like this in a lot of places.”

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Branding L-A: All of your slogan suggestions

Here are all of the printable taglines suggested for the Sun Journal’s slogan writing contest.

  • City of Big Ideas
  • Great Falls, Great Cities! Lewiston-Auburn, a great place to be
  • Great Falls, Great People
  • L/A, Maine’s Twin Cities: Twice the Opportunities
  • Greater L-A as in: “Lewiston-Auburn: We’re Greater L-A”
  • L/A by the Waterway
  • Industry, Hospitality, Community
  • Two Cities, Multiple Opportunities
  • Colleges, Commerce, Culture
  • L-A Rocks! Come join us!
  • L/A The Way Partnership Should Be!
  • Yeah, but it has a great personality
  • Work & Play in L/A
  • Where Diversity Meets Opportunity
  • Two Cities, Countless Opportunities
  • Twin Cities moving together
  • The Other LA
  • The future starts here
  • The center of Maine, with ties to the world, live LEW/AUB
  • Proud Past, Bright Future
  • On the Androscoggin . . . Great Falls, Great History, Great Future
  • Multicultural Twin Cities
  • Mill Around L/A
  • Mill Around – You’ll See
  • Lewiston-Auburn: You CAN Get Here From There
  • Lewiston-Auburn, a great place to be
  • Lewiston-Auburn “Proud Past, Bright Future”
  • LA . . . Livin it, Loving it
  • LA Set For Take-off
  • L/A: Where Heritage Meets Vision
  • L/A, Gateway to Vacationland!
  • L/A — United by Great Falls
  • L/A Today
  • L/A The River Runs Through It — Come Join Us
  • L/A The hub of Maine
  • L/A It’s Happening Here!
  • L/A East
  • L/A  A Great Place To Be
  • L/A — Park Here!
  • L/A Great Falls, Great People, come join us !
  • L-A. It’s a kind of miracle
  • L-A: It’s Happened Here!
  • L-A makes your day
  • L A North
  • It’s where you want to be
  • It ain’t Biddeford-Saco
  • Imagine the Mill Cities
  • Great Falls of Two Cities
  • Great Falls Empire
  • The way life is — L/A all the way
  • East LA All The Way
  • East L/A: It’s A New Way
  • East Coast’s LA
  • Close your eyes, it smells like bread
  • Auburn-Lewiston — Cuz Mayor LaBonte said so!
  • AL — no place like us!
  • Accepting change together
  • A River Runs (Thru) It
  • L.A. Great Expectations

1. City of Big Ideas: 55 votes

2. Great Falls, Great Cities! Lewiston-Auburn, a great place to be: 47

3. Great Falls, Great people: 28

4. L/A, Maine’s Twin Cities: Twice the Opportunities: 23

5. L/A by the Waterway: 15

6. L-A Rocks! Come join us!: 12

7. Greater L-A as in: “Lewiston-Auburn: we’re Greater L-A”: 11

8. Colleges, Commerce, Culture: 9

9. Industry, Hospitality, Community: 7

10. Two Cities, Multiple Opportunities: 6

11. Other suggestions: 169 votes

Community support most important in finding new L-A slogan

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