‘Best of Osceola’ voting begins Thursday
By Ken Jackson
Loyal readers of the Osceola News-Gazette and visitors to its website will have the opportunity over the next three weeks to identify the people and places that make the intertwining communities of Osceola County a unique place to live, work, shop, eat and play.
The ballot for the News-Gazette’s fourth annual Best of Osceola Readers Choice Awards debuts in today’s newspaper and on our website, aroundosceola.com. Readers can vote for their favorites among their area’s best eateries, businesses, menu items, recreation sites and professionals.
Online voting will end at 5 p.m. July 17. Paper ballots found in issues of the newspaper can be mailed and must be postmarked by July 14, or brought to the News-Gazette office at 108 Church St. (across from Kissimmee City Hall) by July 16. Voting is open to all readers ages 18 and up.
The winners will be notified between the end of voting and July 31, when the News-Gazette will publish a special section listing and honoring the winners.
For the first time, the contest is being split into areas east and west of the Florida’s Turnpike: Kissimmee (including Buenaventura Lakes, Poinciana, Celebration and The Loop) and St. Cloud (including Harmony and Lake Nona). Voters can write in their favorite in one or both of the communities.
Filling out the entire ballot is not required, but a minimum number of nominations will be needed for the ballot to be valid.
News-Gazette Publisher Matt Plocha said the winners will receive some award, like a plaque or certificate they can display for their customers or the public.
“This year we want to inject an extra level of energy, life, excitement and local pride into this contest,” he said.
This year, in addition to the nominations for favorite businesses, eateries and local attractions, voters can nominate their top community leaders like teachers, pastors, school teams and public servants.
“Other papers around the country do this very well,” Plocha said. “We want to drill down to the local level and identify the best of our local flavor for, as an example, tourists and other visitors so they can compare it with what they have back home.” “We also want to showcase Osceola County businesses to our own community as chosen by our readers. We look forward to this year’s competition and remember to vote.”