It’s that time again, when I break out the pen and sign dozens of ‘Best of the Valley’ prize certificates.
It’s great how people take our annual contest so seriously, and interesting to see how the results change, year to year.
This week, we print the results: The top three vote-getters in all the categories. But the truth is that there are dozens of nominations in each slot. We don’t have room to print them all. Some people grab many nominations, some just a few. And while you don’t always know where nominations come from, it’s clear that readers like to vote and share their thoughts, on who’s best in their community, to the tune of dozens and dozens of different vote-getters in every category, sometimes with a few choice comments thrown in.
My favorites among the odd comments:
• For best auto services: “I have my own mechanic” Who’s that, then?
• For best city employee: “The short dark-haired guy with a beard” at North Bend Public Works.
• For Romantic Place/food/entertainment: “On the river up Middle Fork” and “Top of Mount Si.”
• For Real Estate Agent: “Bob with long white beard.”
• For Place to Work: “WISH I worked in the Valley.”
• For best firefighter: “Fall City Fire Dept.—all of em!”
• For best cashier: “The nice older, southern cashier at Safeway.”
• For kids activity: “Playing outside.”
For Favorite Valley Event, we had 40 different activities mentioned, from the classic festivals to surprises like the Si View Haunted House and Mary Miller’s Heart of the Valley photo shoot, even Sallal Grange’s open mic night. We’re still guessing which festival “Summer Street Fair” refers to. I’m thinking the North Bend Block Party.
I’ve said this before and I know I’ll say this again: If you like a local store owner enough to be a regular, and vote for them, you might as well learn to spell their name right as a form of respect. Euro Lounge Cafe owner Sinacia Yovanovich can’t help that he’s Romanian, but he had his name spelled every way but right in the business owner category. Do the man a favor, and get the letters down.
One thing that ties the top ‘Best Of’ contenders together is trust, and that’s one of the key reasons for doing this. Top votes imply that the winners have earned people’s repeat visits, satisfaction and perhaps even friendship. Whether it’s the city employees, police and firefighters who have reputations for doing right by their residents, or the hair stylists, massage practitioners, parks staff and baristas who are doing their best to win the business of their neighbors, we are experiencing and supporting their excellence.
Even if you don’t win, if you get second or third, or maybe you’re lower down in the placings, businesses should be proud of doing their best. That’s what really matters.