FARGO — Like everything else this year, the Best of the Red River Valley, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's annual contest to pick the community's best arts and entertainment, restaurants and bars, services and local businesses, has made some adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starting in mid-August, Red River Valley residents had about a month to nominate their favorite businesses, restaurants, hairstylists, columnists, radio stations and more from the comfort of their homes. The 2020 contest added several new categories, including Best Food Delivery Service, Best Internet Service and Best Staycation Location — and some categories that garnered little interest in past years generated heated debates, including Best City Park.
Nominations were tallied to determine the five finalists in more than 80 categories, and the next voting window opened Monday, Sept. 21.
Businesses, service providers, restaurants and local leaders can campaign for their pick for their favorite by sharing finalists on social media. Forum advertising staff said this second voting phase draws the most engagement as the community rallies around different area businesses or services.
Some have chosen to sponsor certain categories as a way to have an expanded presence online and campaign for votes. Other businesses buy ad space in the fall magazine that will include the winners of each category as a way to celebrate the community.
Voting is open now through Oct. 11 at InForum.com/bestof. Once the votes are tallied, the Best of the Red River Valley magazine will publish the results Saturday, Nov. 28, complete with stories about the winners. The glossy magazine will be inserted into that day's Forum of Fargo-Moorhead paper, and the results and magazines will also be available to view online at InForum.com.
See the finalists and vote for your favorites below.