HUDSON — Readers have spoken and now their Columbia County favorites have been revealed.
The best of the best in Columbia County gathered Thursday night at a red carpet event at that featured live local music and celebrity presenters, such as Food Network star Nancy Fuller and her husband, Ginsberg’s Foods CEO and President David Ginsberg.
It was all to announce the results of an annual contest sponsored by the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce and Columbia-Greene Media, where county residents can vote for their favorite local businesses in more than 90 categories.
Dozens of different industries, including food service, retail, arts and culture, automotive, sports and entertainment — to name a few — were represented.
“There are people here that are from all areas of the county, all different professions,” Columbia-Greene Media Publisher Mark Vinciguerra said. “It was a real celebration.”
Voters turned out in droves for this year’s competition.
Almost 4,000 people voted this year and they voted on average 20 times for 20 individual categories, Vinciguerra said.
“Sixty-eight thousand votes were cast in different categories — it’s enormous,” Vinciguerra said.
In the Food and Drink category, Ca’ Mea Ristorante, 333 Warren St., Hudson, took home the title of Best Fine Dining. Meanwhile, readers chose the Bartlett House, 2258 State Route 66, Ghent, in the category of Best Dessert.
Readers chose the Olana New York State Historic Site as The Best Place to Propose and The Best Place for a First Date. Basilica Hudson, 110 South Front St., Hudson won Best Wedding Venue in the Community category.
Jessica Cropper, of CropperAltCeramics, took home Best Artist and Mac-Haydn Theater, 1925 State Route 203, Chatham won Best Local Live Theater.
Chatham Brewing, 59 Main St., Chatham, took home the honor of Best Brewery and Best Happy Hour Spot.
In the Best Nightlife category, Wunderbar Bistro, 744 Warren St., Hudson, won Best Bar.
Claverack Builders, 41 Bender Boulevard, Ghent, and Kinderhook Toyota, 1908 State Route 9H, Hudson, took home top honors in the Best of Services category.
In the Shopping category, Hudson Antique Dealers Association, 522 Warren St., took home Best Antique Dealer and Herrington’s, 312 White Hill Lane, Hillsdale, won Best Building Supply Store.
To view the full list, visit www.RegisterStar.com.
The turnout for the awards show was large, too — about 300 people attended, Vinciguerra said.
The event was previously held at the Chamber’s promenade in Hudson, but moved to the Columbia County Fairgrounds when more people started to come and a larger space was needed, Hunt said.
Columbia-Greene Media has collaborated with the Chamber on the awards show since it’s inception in 2013.
Columbia County Chamber of Commerce President Jeffrey Hunt said organizers wanted to keep the awards suspenseful this year by not announcing the winners prior to the show, he said.
“They [the nominees] didn’t have to come here to win, but they had to come to know who the winners were,” Hunt said. “We wanted to add our own flair to sort of suggest the Academy Awards or the Grammys.”
Reporter Daniel Zuckerman contributed to this report.
To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to email@example.com, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.