Last year, Philadelphia entered the contest for the first time in its 45- year history. The City of Brotherly Love made it to the finals. The honor
went to such cities as Cleveland and Pulaski, Tenn.
This year, those behind Philadelphia's effort say they plan to mount a stronger campaign.
"Off the record, we were told that one of the reasons that we lost was that our delegation was small, and it didn't seem that we were that enthusiastic about the prospect of bringing home the designation," said Mark Viggiano, executive director of PhilaPride, a local civic organization.
Philadelphia sent 12 people last year to Tampa, Fla., for the competition.
By comparison, other winning cities - including Delray Beach, Fla., north of Fort Lauderdale - brought huge delegations. They included top officials and business people.
Cleveland's group not only had Mayor Michael R. White, but the city's police chief, school board president and chief executives. Laredo, Tex., which is 94 percent Hispanic, flew in a high school mariachi band.
The Philadelphia delegation was more subdued. The only city official present was Robert J. Butera, executive director of the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
"It was basically out of ignorance because we didn't know what to expect at the finals," Viggiano said.
This year, the Philadelphia delegation has expanded to include about 40 civic activists and executives. The plan is to create a Philadelphia street scene in the contest's exhibit hall and pass out water ice and soft pretzels. Local youngsters would also perform routines while jumping double-dutch.
HOW TO ENTER
Are you big on Philly? If so, tell us why you think Philadelphia should be named an "All-America City."
If you win, you and three guests will receive a free trip to Oakland, Calif., as part of the city's delegation.
Please send your entry to All-America City Contest, PhilaPride, 1818 Market St., Suite 3510, Philadelphia, PA 19103-3681.
Entries must be postmarked by Friday. They can be hand-delivered or faxed to 215-575-2222 by 5 p.m. Friday.
Entries must be no longer than 100 words. They must be typed or printed and must include your name, address and phone number.
The winner will be selected May 25 and will be featured in the Daily News May 26, along with excerpts from the winning entry.
CONVENTION CENTER HAPPENINGS
GROUP DATE ATTENDANCE
Women's Way Banquet May 19 2,500
American Psychiatric Association May 20-25 13,000
Hazardous Materials Management June 5-17 4,000
Competitive Power Congress June 8-9 2,000
Salvation Army Dinner June 20 1,000
Peak Performance International June 21 2,000