With final voting underway, here’s a look at the Best of Summit contest

Submit your votes now through Sept. 1

Andy Stonehouse

Maybe you’ve seen those placards in a local restaurant, your dentist’s office or even at a town council meeting. The annual Best of Summit contest has become a staple for local businesses, individuals and events. It is an opportunity for community members to nominate and vote for their favorites, which are spread across hundreds of categories.

For more than a decade, the Summit Daily News has run the annual readers choice contest as an entirely local way to acknowledge the best in food, drink, service, activities and more. This year, with a series of changes designed to provide more opportunities for nominees and to enhance the accountability of the voting process, Best of Summit promises to represent an even wider array of voters and potential winners.

Slifer Smith & Frampton employees pose for a photo after winning Best Real Estate Firm at the 2019 Best of Summit party. (Photo by Liz Copan)
Slifer Smith & Frampton employees pose for a photo after winning Best Real Estate Firm at the 2019 Best of Summit party. (Photo by Liz Copan)

The final round of voting takes place from Aug. 25 to Sept. 1, with the winners announced at the Best of Summit party on Oct. 26 and in the Best of Summit winners guide on Oct. 28.

Nicole Miller, publisher of the Summit Daily, explains that the 2022 Best of Summit contest offers a particularly personal way for Summit County residents to acknowledge their favorites, with several new topics in pets, health and wellness, and home, as well as 60 entirely new categories.

“This is designed to celebrate and support local businesses,” Miller says. “It’s a way to recognize the local business community and all the work they do. And there are bragging rights for the winners. I always look at readers choice listings like ours when I travel to a new town.”

For 2022, some refinements to Best of Summit will allow more opportunities for voters to have a say in both the list of nominees and the entire voting process. An additional round of voting has been added so that everyone who was nominated by the public had a chance to be included in the first eight-day voting period. Miller says almost 90 percent of the votes came from locals and second-home owners, and almost 100,000 votes were tallied for the first round of voting.

Also, new this year, voters are allowed to electronically cast their vote once per day in each category. As Miller says, monitoring the voting process is the most important way of overcoming any skepticism people might have about the way winners are selected, especially in competitive categories regarding food and drink.

“We used to allow one vote per category, but the new system means that voters can enter votes each day,” she says. “We do, however, use an electronic tracking system to verify that it’s just one vote per day, per person.”    

“We take the voting part quite seriously,” adds Emma Trainor, Summit Daily advertising director. “This has helped the Best of Summit contest become a trusted and effective marketing tool for the businesses, organizations and individuals selected.”

Tim Applegate, center, poses for a photo after Sauce won multiple awards at the 2019 Best of Summit party. (Photo by Liz Copan)
Tim Applegate, center, poses for a photo after Sauce won multiple awards at the 2019 Best of Summit party. (Photo by Liz Copan)

“The contest helps people feel like they are the best at what they do, and it acknowledges that with public support,” Trainor says. “A lot of people post their winners’ plaques or include the information on their websites to help promote themselves. It’s a way of letting other people know that the community thinks they’re great.”

For longtime winners, the Best of Summit awards offer a competitive opportunity to show off their hard work in a tourist-occupied community.

“It’s something we don’t take lightly,” says Tim Applegate, managing partner of Silverthorne’s Sauce on the Blue. “We’ve won best restaurant five years in a row, and we try to adhere to those standards as a result. It’s a big deal to us, as we know that people are looking at that kind of stuff and the contest is important to the community.”

Suzanne Phillipson, marketing and communications manager for the town of Dillon, says the various awards the town, its programs and its facilities have received — best farmers market, the best place to dance, and even the best place to impress an out-of-town guest — all have special meaning to her organization.

“It’s fun to see local businesses and amenities highlighted, and it’s cool that the support is coming directly from such a tight-knit community,” she says. “We love to show off any awards that we win to our town council and post them in the council chambers so that they can see the importance that these have to our community.” 

Best of Summit final voting is here

Show your support for local favorites here

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