This year, as Up & Coming Weekly is celebrating our 25th anniversary, I am incredibly proud that 2021 also marks our 24th Best of Fayetteville celebration of the Best of the Best people, businesses and organizations in Fayetteville, Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. For a quarter of a century, we have showcased this community and told its stories. We have championed its successes, supported its causes and celebrated our diverse community's quality of life and uniqueness.

We’ve all heard the saying “Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” Well, that’s exactly how I feel about working here at the Up & Coming Weekly community newspaper. And, it is this time of year that I like the most. This is the time for the Best of Fayetteville readership survey - a time when we reach out to our readers and ask them what and who they love and appreciate most about this community. Do they have a favorite restaurant? Who has the best car wash? What is your favorite theater, nonprofit organization, entertainment venue or veterinarian?

This is your chance to tell us who is the Best of the Best in Fayetteville. The voting takes place during July. So please pick up a copy of the Up & Coming Weekly, fill out a ballot, mail it to us, or visit our website, www.upandcomingweekly.com and vote online. Either way, make sure you VOTE!

After all the votes are in, verified and counted, we publish a Special Best of Fayetteville Edition of Up & Coming Weekly showcasing the winners. The Special Edition will be presented at the Best of Fayetteville Party, where we congratulate and celebrate the winners. This Special Edition will be on our website for the entire year.

The ballots are out, so make sure you VOTE! And on September 29th, you can pick up the Special Edition announcing the winners — the people, organizations and businesses that YOU have designated "Best of the Best."

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About Best of Fayetteville: Best of Fayetteville is sanctioned and audited. We do not use nominations, and Up & Coming Weekly does not pre-sell advertising ads to nominate, promote or influence specific businesses or organizations for Best of Fayetteville. However, we encourage businesses to promote themselves and encourage their customers, friends and family to cast a ballot on their behalf. Up & Coming Weekly does no pre-ballot advertising sales. Nor do we sell or require businesses or organizations to participate with advertising purchases for pre-contest special sections to get their business officially printed on the ballot.

After the ballots are verified and tallied, there is only ONE winner in each category. At this time, winners are allowed to purchase advertising and marketing packages in the Best of Fayetteville Special Edition to thank their customers and supporters. The Best of Fayetteville Special Edition is a valuable component of the program because it is used all year long to promote the Fayetteville community to visitors, guests and newcomers to Fort Bragg and Cumberland County. This is the most effective way for the winners to capitalize on their Best of Fayetteville achievement. Also, in recognition, these unique marketing programs are significantly discounted so winners can take full marketing advantage of the honor. Winners have only one opportunity to participate in these advertising programs – and it's only after they've won.

In addition to a beautiful wall plaque awarded to each Best of Fayetteville winner, they are authorized to use the official Best of Fayetteville logo in all their advertising and marketing. Best of Fayetteville is an exclusive designation. The way we implement and manage the program is what has made it credible and sustainable. Is the survey perfect? No. However, the survey results speak for itself, recognizing the Best of Fayetteville as one of this community's most respected and prestigious achievements and awards.

We launch the Best of Fayetteville readership survey during July to avoid conflicting with The Fayetteville Observer's Reader's Choice Awards, their annual advertising sales promotion. The Reader's Choice advertising-based program should not be confused with the Best of Fayetteville Awards program. If you have any questions about whether you're participating in the Best of Fayetteville readership survey or someone else's advertising program, take a good, long look at the ballot. If it refers to nominations, names and ads pre-printed on the ballot, it is NOT the Best of Fayetteville.

So, what are you waiting for? Cast your vote and let your voice be heard! Thanks for reading Up & Coming Weekly.

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