We Have an Issue: Time to Cast Your Vote in the The Austin Chronicle's "Best of Austin" Readers Poll

Shout-out the people and places that make Austin so special

Photo by Yana Blajeva / © 2021 Legendary, Courtesy of Netflix

The Austin Chronicle's "Best of Austin" Awards are back! Longtime readers already know the drill with this annual rite, in which we celebrate the people and places that make Austin so great. But if you're new to town, here's the rundown:

The Readers Poll is divided into two rounds. The first, which kicks off in this week's issue, is the write-in round. It's pure chaos, but in a good way! Tens of thousands of votes get cast – by you, dear readers – across seven categories: Arts & Entertainment, Kids & Family, Nightlife, Politics & Media, Shopping, Services, and Sports & Outdoors. Think you know the best kids' playground in town? Got a go-to plumber? Swear by your mani/pedi place? Crazy about a comedy troupe? These are just a few of the 174 awards we'll be doling out to locals you love.

Top vote-getters in this round move on to the second round, which starts in the April 1 issue. That's where you'll choose from the finalists to determine the winners, who'll be revealed (along with Chron staff's outside-the-box Critics Picks) in the May 20 issue. You'll also have the opportunity in this second round to leave testimonials explaining why you're so passionate about a person or place. These little mash notes are a lot of fun for me to sift through; my favorites get published in the issue.

Now that's all old hat to readers who've been voting in this thing for the last (*checks notes*) three decades. New this year is, well, a noticeable absence. We've moved the Food & Drink category out of our main "Best of Austin" Awards to give them their own dedicated issue in the fall. Voting in the Chronicle's "Best of Austin: Restaurants" will take place in July and August, and the awards will be announced September 23 in a special pullout we think will be handy everytime you're pondering that eternal question: What's for dinner?

That doesn't mean restaurants and bars and food industry professionals have disappeared completely from our OG "Best of Austin" Awards. In fact, we've added some new categories that reflect what a boomtown this is for food and beverage production: Local Food Brand, Local Nonalcoholic Beverage Brand, and Local Alcoholic Beverage Brand. The Nightlife section is still where you're going to vote for all your favorite bars and other nocturnal destinations; we've also added a Best Romantic Dinner award for the wooers among us.

A few more notable new awards: Best Volunteer Experience, Best Music Instruction, and Best Roofing. A reader suggested the first one, and the last one – well, to be honest, I need a new roof, and I figured y'all would have recommendations.

And that really is the spirit of this endeavor: to be a giant, crowdsourced resource-slash-booster club, with tens of thousands of fellow Austinites pointing you in the direction of the best services in town, the creative minds making the niftiest art, the public servants and nonprofits most deserving of huzzahs ...

Well, you get the drift.

So cruise on over to vote.austinchronicle.com to cast your ballot now. Follow that link to also find free social media assets to get out the vote.

Assistant News and Qmmunity Editor Beth Sullivan is relocating to Tennessee with her wife (congrats on the nuptials, y'all!), which makes this her last issue on staff. Sarah Marloff (now arts editor at Washington City Paper) left Beth big shoes to fill in this role, and Beth got further whammied by inheriting the job mere weeks before the pandemic hit. She rose to the challenge and has been an essential part of our editorial staff during These Trying Times. You can find her farewell Qmmunity column here.

The Qmmunity mantle now passes to James Scott, who is part of our proofreading team, a regular contributor, and one of my favorite people to gab with about movies. Look for his first column in next week's issue.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

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