Best of Augusta 2011 - Miscellaneous
Some charities provide wigs for cancer patients, others scholarships, guide dogs or medical assistance. Not everyone needs such things, but everyone needs to eat. That helps explain the reader choice of Golden Harvest Food Bank as their favorite local charity. The United Way and the Children’s Miracle Network deadlock in second. Easter Seals follows. Support them one and all!
Best Fundraising Event
Walton Rehabilitation takes top honors here for its fun and casual Undercover Artists event that benefits traumatic brain injury patients. Oysters on Telfair, benefiting the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art ties with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in second. Art of Chocolate, in its 16th year of benefiting Child Enrichment, scores third.
Best Christmas Lights
Georgia Power’s favorite category is won by Lights of the South and its millions of little lights. They have L.O.T.S. of lights, rumored to be the reason for the expansion at Plant Vogtle. Downtown Augusta’s holiday lights and Hopelands Gardens wrap up second and third, respectively.
Best Thing To Happen To Augusta
Obviously, we mean aside from Augusta Magazine, and with that caveat, the Best of the Rest is headlined by the shiny new Kroc Center. It’s awesome. That’s also a great word for second place winner Westobou. As arts festivals go, it’s absolutely sterling, especially considering it’s practically in its infancy. Third goes to the annual Augusta Ironman 70.3 competition sponsored by ESi. (If you’ve always wondered, the triathlon course covers 70.3 miles.)
Best Reason To Visit Columbia County
One answer might be that’s where your house is located, but we’re asking voters to think like tourists for a few moments. They obediently came up with Clarks Hill Lake, a splendid and often overlooked destination indeed. Go there soon and drink it all
unner-up status, and that was before the new Lady Antebellum Amphitheater. Third best reason is Columbia County as a shopping destination.
Best Reason To Visit Richmond County
Alternate category name: Best Reason for a Staycation. The leading response was “Downtown attractions.” That covers a heckuva lot of ground: shopping, concerts, theaters, parks, street fairs and the jail. Plus, second place opens the field even wider: dining. Not that downtown is home to all the restaurants, but it’s got a bunch of worthy destinations, with more sprinkled here and there all over the county. In third, we’re back downtown exclusively: museums.
Best Historic Landmark
The winner: Sacred Heart Cultural Center. Inside and out, this is one magnificent structure. Next up: Boyhood Home of Woodrow Wilson. And the last of the top three: the towering Confederate Powderworks at Sibley Mill. Someday this facility will be luxury apartments and condos. Remember, you read it here first.
Hot Local Issue
There seems to be a lot of debate between, on the one hand, people who want a new baseball stadium on the grounds of the old Augusta Golf and Gardens and, on the other hand, people who want the gardens to remain an overgrown weed patch at the very gateway to Augusta from South Carolina. Which argument will win? Stay tuned. Second was the flap over naming the new judicial center in honor of Judge Jack Ruffin and third place went to—if you can believe this—the antics of the Richmond County Commissioners.
Best New Civic Project
Hands down, another victory for the new kid on the block, the Kroc Center. New Kid number two is the Tee Center project, spanning Reynolds Street, opening soon with great hopes and promise. New Kid number three: the Augusta Judicial Center and its John H. Ruffin Jr. Courthouse.
The darlings of Evans, Augusta, Nashville and the known world beyond, Lady Antebellum walks our red carpet. Keeping it in the family, next down the carpet is Augusta native Josh Kelley, singer, songwriter, husband of actress Katherine Heigl and brother of Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley. Third goes to a sho-nuf local celebrity (key word: local) WGAC talkmeister and occasional thespian Austin Rhodes.