What are your favorite things about Askov? Do you love hiking along the Kettle River in Banning State Park? Having aebleskiver with jam at the Rutabaga Festival? Getting a cup of coffee at the Little Mermaid Cafe after exploring the Pine County History Museum? Or ... is it something else entirely?

Now is the time to share those ideas, as readers of the Askov American are being asked to help recognize the best of everything from food to shopping to best local sports team.

An online contest, the Best of Pine County, is now in its nomination phase. A ballot with more than 90 categories is live at right now.

Readers are asked to nominate their favorites in seven groups: eating and drinking; arts and entertainment; health and fitness; local; services; shopping and sports and recreation. Readers may nominate in as many or as few categories as they like from now through Monday, August 3.

If readers nominate at least two candidates in a category, the category will appear on the voting ballot. If only one nomination is received, the category won’t be on the ballot.

“Unfortunately, you can’t have a contest without competition,” said publisher Jeff Andres. “So if you see only one contestant in a category, please jump in and nominate a second person, place or business.” 

After the nominations are finished, readers will be able to vote for their favorites once a day from August 19–Sepember 10. The ballot will be in the same spot,

The contest will be conducted exclusively online, with no paper ballots.

As an incentive to readers to nominate businesses, one person who nominates a business will be picked at random and will receive $100. 

 “There are so many people working hard to make our community what it is,” said Andres. “Sometimes they don’t receive a lot of appreciation for their efforts. When you nominate and vote for a someone as one of the best of Askov — and the best of Pine County as a whole — you are making a statement.”

When voting closes on September 10, the results will be tallied and winners will be announced in the Askov American on Thursday, October 22.

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