The competition was fierce, but it's all over now. We have found and crowned Minnesota's Most Awkward Family.
Derek Larson's family photo won him and his entire family a two-week vacation to Waikiki, and while we couldn't possibly match that, plenty of readers were willing to sell their family out for $100 at D'Amico.
While there was plenty of contention for second and third place, Aaron Hamm's awesome family portrait took the title by a landslide. Behold, in all their multi-generational glory, the Hamms:
The year was 1994 and three generations of Hamms gathered at a warehouse somewhere in a western suburb of the Twin Cities. We asked the champ -- that's Aaron just over Grandpa Hamm's shoulder -- to try to explain a little bit of what is going on here.
"It's just one of those things that got thrown together. My grandma is really good at meeting these not-so-good photographers and then she'll hire them to take a family photo," he says. "It usually ends up in tragedy. That one turned out awesome, as you can see."
And, no, he has no idea what his little brother was looking at.
Claiming second place is Ellie Bjorklund, with this little gem:
That's Ellie in the pink, with her older sister Erika, and hippity-hopping brother Andy in approximately 1992, doing God knows what in the driveway of their Eden Prairie home.
"I don't know if my mom prompted us and told us to be superheros or if we just were in those positions. No one has any clue, which is what I love about it," she says. "Even the season and weather is awkward."
There was a three-way tie for third place, so we asked the master of the medium, Derek Larson himself, to cast the final vote. He gave the title to Kelly Pellitteri's submission, reasoning that "When you look at those costumes they are so proudly displaying, awkward is about the only word that comes to mind."
"Here's a pic of me and my older bro with homemade Halloween costumes our parents made," Pelletteri wrote in an email. "I was four-years-old with DDs and have no idea what my parents were on. It was 1971."
Last but not least, we chose Elizabeth Ossers's family photo as an honorable mention, if only as an excuse to explain what is arguably the most confusing submission out of the whole bunch. That's her in the middle, between the adorable baby and the super sad cat:
In 1995, Rusty the cat apparently had a case of "hot spot" -- a patch of raw, infected skin -- on his back, and had to be coneheaded to keep him from messing with it. And Ossers was just obsessed with joining the Army. Apparently, this ensemble was on hand whenever she felt like playing special-ops in the backyard.
"It wasn't Halloween or anything. It was just any other day. And the cat is just unfortunate," she says.
Big ups to everyone who threw their hat in the ring, but, as they say, there can only be one. We asked Aaron Hamm who he is taking to dinner and, like a good boy, he knows who really deserves it.
"I think I'm going to end up having to take my grandfolks out for this," he says.
Don't forget to take a picture!