What would a county fair be without Grandma's apple pie, pigs like Wilbur and rides that thrill? Some things never change, as evidenced by many of this year's Best of WNC winners.
We like starting off our day with breakfast at Sunny Point. We more often than not tune our car radios to WNCW-88.7 FM. The Blue Ridge Parkway is still our favorite place to hike, ride bikes and picnic. And we like to support our independent small businesses by shopping at places like Harvest Records, Tops for Shoes, Minx Boutique and Jewels That Dance. All of these spots are Hall of Famers -- Best of WNC winners for four or more years in the same category -- and rightly so, as they help make Western North Carolina the destination that it is and the home that locals dearly want to protect (and sometimes wish they could keep secret).
You'll notice a growing number of Hall of Famers in this year's Best of WNC, and some fresh faces as well. Thousands of you took the time to vote, and we counted your ballots carefully (and resisted taking bribes such as, "If you appoint Trapdoor Into Dinosaur Pit best local band in the 'indie/noise' category we will totally buy you lots of chocolate").
We also listened to your feedback from last year: You'll find quite a few new categories -- several taken from last year's suggestions for categories to add. What is WNC's favorite restaurant? Where's the best place to get your pet groomed? And who's the best local fashion designer? Oh, we're not going to tell you here ... but read on for the answers.
Congratulations to this year's blue-ribbon winners!