The polls are open and it’s again time to pick your favorite local people, places and things.

The second annual Best of the Baldwin Woodville Area Contest begins accepting votes at 7 a.m. July 14. All votes are cast online at . The polls close at 5 p.m., Sunday, August 8.

Unlike other elections, you can vote multiple times. In fact, we encourage voting once every 24 hours to help your favorites win in their respective categories.

When we launched this contest a year ago, we were in the midst of dealing with coronavirus, lockdowns and the fallout to businesses. Well, it looks like the coronavirus is being held in check locally and we are beginning to return to whatever will pass for “normal.” Businesses are working hard to get back on their feet and hopefully recoup some of the losses sustained as a result of the pandemic.

That’s one of the many reasons I love Best Of. This is a quick and easy way for many of us to show our appreciation and love for the people, places and things that have been here for us.

If you are new to all of this, here’s a short primer about the contest.

Nominations for the best in seven categories: eating and drinking, sports and recreation, health and fitness, shopping, arts and entertainment, local and services were accepted online from May 5 – May 21. We received over 1,900 nominations this year in over 80 different categories. The people, places or things with the highest number of nominations made the ballot. We have a limit of five names per category. A few contests have less than five candidates.

Now that voting is underway, you can head to the online ballot and begin selecting your favorite things from best celebration or festival to best local sports team and anything in between. The website will ask you to register and provide an email address. We do this to ensure people vote only once every 24 hours. You will receive a confirmation email to verify your email address as well as a custom link you can use once day while voting is open to return to the ballot to vote.

When voting ends August 8, we will tally the votes and begin preparation of the special section announcing the winners. This section will come out online and in the Bulletin the week of September 29.

Winners and finalists will receive a certificate (suitable for framing), a window or door cling and bragging rights for the next 12 months. The recommendation of the readers of the Bulletin carries weight when some people are deciding which places or services to patronize.

Whether we want to admit it or not, there is a deep-seated desire in many of us to excel and for our hard work to be recognized. Contests like Best Of provide a friendly way for us to let people know their hard work has been noticed and is appreciated.

I encourage you all to check out the contest, cast a vote for one or more of your favorites and return each day to do it all over again. If you are in doubt of who is the best, you have time to visit and or sample the products.

Encourage your family and friends to do the same.

Best of luck to all the nominees!

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