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The Athens NEWS Best of Athens Readers’ Choice Awards have undergone a total renovation and expansion in 2020, after 30 consecutive years of informing and enlightening Athens and Athens County.

In this 31st year, the Best of Athens has been drawn out and extended, with the nominating round in the final two weeks of February and the voting round running from March 9-30. We’ll announce the winners in our issues on April 9 and 16.

We believe that stretching out the contest will add some drama to the proceedings, and make the final announcements in April all the more exciting. It also gives local businesses more time to promote why they deserve our readers’ votes.

We’ve also refurbished and expanded our list of categories, removing some, adding some and improving some. As in past years, we’re running categories in seven different sections – People, Foodies Favorites, Commerce, Nightlife, Miscellaneous, Places and a special section for Ohio University and Hocking College students, For Students Only.

In another big change this year, Best of Athens for the first time is being promoted in both of the local APG Media of Ohio papers, The Athens NEWS and Athens Messenger.

This 31st Best of Athens begins on Feb. 14 when the nominating ballot goes live at That round runs until March 30. You can’t miss the link; it will appear at the top of The Athens NEWS’ home page.

Next week The NEWS will begin publishing a copy of the Best of Athens 2020 ballot in its print editions. It will list all of the categories along with the rules of the road for BOA. 

All voting will be done online.

After the nominating round ends on Feb. 28, we will take the top five choices for each voting category from the nominations and include them in a final voting round. 

We don’t allow ballot stuffing, and all ballots must have at least 10 categories filled out before being considered. But all that information will be included in the introduction to the online ballot.

If you have any questions, please contact me at

We hope you enjoy our expanded Best of Athens 2020. We’ve included most of the past favorite categories plus some interesting new ones. This project is so much fun to read only because Athens NEWS readers have so much fun deciding what and who are the Best of Athens.

We and APG Media of Ohio very much appreciate your participation. – Terry Smith, Athens NEWS editor

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