Best of Sumter is back, and that's cause for celebration.
Nominations for The Sumter Item's annual readers' choice contest, now in its 23nd year, are being accepted in more than 300 categories now through Dec. 31.
The contest serves as Sumter's premier and farthest-reaching campaign to recognize all the great people, places, businesses, services and events in the area. Winners will be named in categories spanning auto and transportation, business, community, food and drinks, education, home and finance, medical services, professionals and shopping and commerce. That means if you want to know what your neighbors, coworkers, business associates and strangers all over town think the best place is in town to find an oil change, a place to take the kids, a specialist doctor, a home appraiser, a tax professional or a hotdog, Best of Sumter has the answer.
The contest also features community-based categories such as teacher, nurse and law enforcement officer. Voters decide on their favorite nonprofit organization, their favorite place to volunteer and their favorite church.
"Winners tell us every day how being named Best of Sumter brings people to their doors, so it's not only a point of pride for people and employees, but a revenue driver for local businesses," Item Publisher Vince Johnson said. "And for our staff at The Item, the red carpet event where we celebrate all of the winners is one of the great highlights of the year."
Having a subscription to The Sumter Item is not necessary to participate at any stage of the contest, including being a nominee or winner.
Nominations will be approved by Item staff within 48 hours.
Once nominations close at the end of the month, everyone can vote once per day in as many or few categories as they want Jan. 4 to Feb. 6.
The red carpet winners' celebration and magazine release is scheduled for April 25.
To make your nominations, go to www.theitem.com/bestof.
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