Best of Athens

At the time of last year’s contest, the Best of Athens Reader’s Choice Awards nodded to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and its immediate impact on the many people, place, institutions, businesses and icons that make Athens a better place to live.

Since then, we have stumbled, we have fought, we have struggled. But we have also adapted; we have persisted; we have survived. And that’s worth celebrating.

In today’s issue, and then again in our May 5 newspaper, we are presenting the first and second installments of the results for The Athens NEWS’ Best of Athens Readers Choice Awards for 2021.

Each category contains a short blurb nodding to our top finalists, selected by you, our readers.

Although only one first-place winning finalist exists in every category, it’s important to remember that praising the efforts of others in our community doesn’t have to be confined within to this contest. Please thank the healthcare workers who manned the COVID-19 frontline, locally and throughout the region. Thank the school nurses, teachers and staff who diligently worked with leadership to ensure the children in their district were healthy and safe. Give a shout-out to food pantry volunteers who completely revamped operations to bring food to their neighbors. Let those managing our health department know that their marathon-work days weren’t completed in vain.

Now, possibly more than ever, is the time to let people who better your circumstances know that their efforts are seen and valued.

Last year, The Athens NEWS Best of Athens Readers’ Choice Awards underwent a total renovation and expansion, after decades of informing and enlightening Athens and Athens County.

In this 32nd year, we had to make a few more changes in order to adapt to the pandemic. You saw the removal of some categories and the adaptation of others, just as we witnessed the removal of some norms and the adaptation of others this past year.

The nominating round for this year’s Best of Athens contest started on Feb. 17. Voters could submit their nominations for their favorite people, places and things until March 5.

The top five choices for each voting category from the nominations were included in a final voting round, which began on March 24 and went until April 9. During this voting round, users could vote once a day in each category.

This contest period, we’re running categories in several different sections — People, Foodies’ Favorites, Miscellaneous in the first round, and in the second round, Commerce, Nightlife and Places.

All voting was done online, as it has been in past years.

If you have any questions, please contact me at We hope you enjoy this year’s contest and very much appreciate your participation.

And remember: please continue to support the people, places, institutions and businesses that you think make Athens special anyway you can.

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