DAVIDSON – It was a night of music and celebration as Lake Norman Publications recognized the award recipients of the inaugural Best of the Lake competition.

Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the attendees who came to River Run Country Club as representatives of the hundreds of nominees and winners selected by thousands of readers.

“We celebrate our hometown entrepreneurs, our chefs, our craftsmen, our artists, our healthcare professionals,” Lake Norman Publications CEO Craig Moon told the crowd. “We honor businesses that help define your style, dynamic achievers and creators of every type, the best products, the best customer service, franchise owners, businesses with multiple locations. We salute the businesses, people and places from all around Lake Norman – the power of Lake Norman’s growth. Our readers have spoken and these are the best the lake has to offer.”

Even for its first year, competition was fierce. The Best of the Lake committee had the difficult decision of narrowing down to just 60 categories, but after that the choice was in the voters’ hands. Initially, readers of Lake Norman Publications’ Herald Weekly, Mooresville Weekly and Denver Weekly were tasked with filling in the blanks with whomever they felt best fit the category. Those nominations were tallied and readers again voted on the top five in each, totaling 300 entities.

“All of the hard work that went into the creation of the special section and party was validated by the thousands of votes from readers that poured in and the dozens of smiles on partygoers’ faces upon earning the title of Best of Lake Norman,” said Executive Editor Justin Vick.

One of the largest smiles was that of Ada Jenkins Center Executive Director Georgia Krueger. Lake Norman Publications presented the Best Nonprofit Agency recipient with a check for $1,000.

“I had the opportunity to tour the Ada Jenkins Center a few months ago and was blown away by the number of ways the nonprofit helps people struggling with generational and situational poverty,” Vick said. “Many people in northern Mecklenburg and southern Iredell counties depend on the Ada Jenkins Center.”

In keeping with the style of the lake, festivities were purposefully both upscale and relaxed and casual, Moon said, featuring food from popular area venues and music by DJ Bob and Blue Monday, who shut the place down. 

While the 2014 competition is complete, staff is already gearing up and making some tweaks to ensure the next one is even better.

“Coordinating this year’s inaugural Best of the Lake special section and party was a labor of love fueled by the continuous feedback and participation we received from readers and eligible businesses,” Vick said. “Companies wanted to know how to get nominated, and readers were anxious to vote. We are anxious to get started on next year!”