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Response to Best of the Best Banquet proves overwhelming

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The first-ever Best of the Best banquet sponsored by The Leader is shaping up to be more than we bargained for thanks to tremendous support from local businesses and community members.

Some background: Each year, The Leader publishes a Best of the Best edition, which is a compilation of our Readers’ Choice Awards in a number of categories. We publish a ballot for four weeks in the newspaper, readers fill out those ballots and submit them to the newspaper and our staff counts the votes. The top three nominees are recognized with the highest vote-getter winning the category. Now entering our eighth year, we thought a more official presentation would be appropriate, so we opted to host a banquet on July 29 at the Chamber Center in downtown Covington.

Invitations went out and we crossed our fingers that we’d have enough people interested to put on a good program. Hopeful that we could get 100 people to come, we held our breath. But we never anticipated…

As of now, as these words are being typed, the day after the RSVP deadline, we have a waiting list of nearly 100 seats on top of a maxed-out venue. While our head count remains comfortably below the fire safety maximum capacity, we couldn’t fit more folks in the room unless we removed the tables, which isn’t an option since dinner is being served.

For our oversight in not recognizing the demand for participation in this event — particularly to our nominees who called too late to get seating — we apologize. We’ve got something to think about as we try to make our second banquet in 2015 better than the 2014 event.

And to those who are attending, know that we’re very grateful for your support and we know the award winners will be grateful, too, to have you in the audience because it’s their night to shine. 

Winning a Readers’ Choice Award can mean a lot of things. Some cynics say it’s a popularity contest. Maybe so. Some say it’s a reflection of hard work, service, quality and dedication. We certainly believe that. Some have said it just means that a candidate rallied his or her customers and friends to win support. Could be. But don’t all of those things say something about the person or business winning? To have people voting for you, going through effort to do so, whether because of service, quality, hard work or popularity means something wonderful happened. People cared enough to vote for you. In the business world and in the world of friendship and personal relationships, that means everything.

Best of the Best is not a scientific poll. It’s not about quantifiable standards and objective measures of performance. It’s about love from the community. And who doesn’t desire that? Is there a better award to receive? We may be biased but we don’t think so.

We look forward to the night of July 29 when our readers’ voices are heard as we call out the Best of the Best from Tipton County, and we thank so many of you who’ve decided to be in attendance as we apologize to those who want to, but can’t. We’ll do our best to give those who are there a great night of celebration and starting July 30, we’ll get our thinking hats on to try to meet the demand for 2015.

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