Finalists in for Best of Springfield contest

The votes have been counted, the finalists have been determined and we’re just weeks away from naming “The Best of Springfield.”

Following a summer-long public voting process which saw nearly 3,000 ballots cast, The Chamber of Greater Springfield will unveil the new Best of Springfield magazine and present awards in 18 categories at the first-ever “Best Of Springfield” Celebration Oct. 22 at Clark State Community College’s Hollenbeck Bayley Creative Arts and Conference Center.

Before we reveal the finalists and tell you more about the event, I think it’s important to understand the motivation behind the contest.

At our annual Chamber of Greater Springfield staff retreat this past winter, we discussed ways in which we could shine a spotlight on the people and organizations that make Springfield great. We were searching for the right vehicle to help raise our community perception — both internally and externally.

After much thought, we landed on the “Best of Springfield” concept, which would include a glossy, lifestyle magazine highlighting Springfield’s best businesses, attractions and events.

Our staff believed it was important that the voting process was a true “public” vote. Therefore, we created an open-ended voting platform at www.BestOfSpfld.com that allowed voters to enter their favorites in 18 different categories. The only eligibility requirement was that the business or attraction be based in Clark County. The voting was promoted via billboards, print advertisements and social media.

And now … on to the finalists (in no particular order):

Best Breakfast Spot: Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans, Buckeye Sports Lodge.

Best Lunch Spot: O’Conners, Our Hero Subs, Mike & Rosy’s.

Best Fine Dining: Seasons Bistro, Cecil & Lime, Olive Garden.

Best Pizza & Subs: Catanzaro’s, Bada Bing, Hickory Inn.

Best Sushi: Sake 3, Yamato, Sakura.

Best Chicken Wings: Roosters, Fricker’s, BW3.

Best Burger: Ridgewood Café, Five Guys, O’Conners.

Best Coffee & Bakery: Tim Horton’s, Schuler’s, Coffee Expressions.

Best Ice Cream: Young’s, Dairy Queen, Cold Stone.

Best Date Night Spot: Cinema 10, O’Conner’s, Seasons Bistro.

Best Bar/Nightclub: Buckeye Sports Lodge, Station 1, O’Conner’s.

Best Place to Watch the Game: O’Conner’s, BW3, Buckeye Sports Lodge.

Best Family Fun: Champion City Kings, Young’s, NTPRD Chiller.

Best Local Attraction: Heritage Center, Young’s, Westcott House.

Best Local Event: Summer Arts Festival, Holiday in the City, Rotary Food Truck Competition.

Best Outdoor Recreation: Snyder Park/ECO Sports, Bike Trails, Buck Creek State Park.

Best Salon & Spa: Visions, Oasis, Mallia.

Best Locally Owned Retail Store: Bone-a-Fido Bakery, Fair Trade Winds, Champion City Guide + Supply.

The winners in each category will be honored at the Oct. 22 “Best of Springfield” Celebration, which will feature an exclusive wine tasting with Cameron Hughes, Founder & CEO of Cameron Hughes Wines. Guests will enjoy a special tasting menu, seven different Cameron Hughes wines and live entertainment.

Our emcee for the evening is Deborah Linz, news anchor for ABC 22/FOX 45. The event is open to the public and tickets may be purchased at http://bit.ly/BestOfSpringfield, or by calling 937-521-1944.

Congratulations to the finalists and thank you for helping make Springfield great.

(Schutte is Director of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau)

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