Best of WNC awards come early this year, with more categories

Which bars have the best atmosphere? Best view? Most unusual beer selection?

Where’s the best place to buy dress-up clothes? Work clothes? Kids clothes?

Who’s the best employer? What company improves WNC the most?

You won’t have to wait until October to learn the answers to these and many other local-centric questions. This year, Mountain Xpress will publish the results of its Best of WNC reader poll in early August. Our accelerated schedule puts the much awaited results into the hands of residents and visitors during the vibrant and bustling summer season.

Each year, thousands of Xpress readers have been sharpening their virtual pencils and voting online for their favorite restaurants, bars, outdoor-activities and more. This year, voting starts May 8.

Also new this year, the ballot will feature more categories that better honor WNC’s unique and varied passions.

For example, in simpler times, readers voted for their favorite craft brew. This year, they’ll have three choices: Beer City USA’s favorite IPA, porter and ale. Once, local coffee enthusiasts crowned their favorite coffee shop. But this year, they’ll pick the best morning and evening coffee houses, and the one with the best ambiance. Parents will have a chance to weigh in on their favorite kids’ birthday-party location, face-painting artist and rainy-day destination.

And last but far from least, Xpress will announce the 2013 winners in three ways: in Xpress’ biggest issue of the year, online and in a special stand-alone guide that will be distributed area-wide throughout the year.

Hang on to your hats. Say, who in WNC wears the best hats?

— Jeff Fobes, publisher

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