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Best Of Wilmington

BEST OF 2017: Winners, winners and more winners!

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And here we are again: another year, another Best Of. 

SLICED JUST RIGHT: The Slice of Life “Baywatch” crew celebrate their wins for Best Pizza and Best Late-Night Eatery, but also their win at The Beach Ball costume contest. Photo by Chris Brehmer Photography.

SLICED JUST RIGHT: The Slice of Life “Baywatch” crew celebrate their wins for Best Pizza and Best Late-Night Eatery, but also their win at The Beach Ball costume contest. Photo by Chris Brehmer Photography.

The planning that begins every fall to put on Wilmington’s official Best Of readers’ poll has evolved from hand-counting ballots in the ‘80s and ‘90s, to allowing computers to tally results via online voting. Flimsy Best Of certificates given to 75 or so winners has blossomed into hand-built plaques awarded to 137 people, places, businesses, arts organizations, and more. A small party that started in the early aughts has evolved into a full-blown fundraiser for a local nonprofit—all to honor winners and raise awareness for a great cause. encore’s Best Of is in constant flux of reinvention, and every year we feel like it’s shedding brighter lights on all the important parts of our community.







We appreciate every person who takes time to fill out the nomination and final-voting ballots, the businesses who campaign and donate food, raffle items and even money to our fundraiser, and to all the folks who volunteer and help us host the benefit: local comedy troupe Pineapple-Shaped Lamps; Rich and Artie of Brooklyn Arts Center; local band Da Howlies; Chris Brehmer Photography; Cape Fear Sound and Soundwave Audio; and Surfers Healing, our 2017 beneficiary, who oversaw a lot of the planning and organizing with so many helpful volunteers.

Surfers Healing Wrightsville Beach NC is a satellite camp of the national nonprofit, Surfers Healing—a foundation that enriches the lives of people living with autism by exposing them to the unique experience of surfing. Last year the local chapter served close to 400 families affected by autism during their annual summer surf camp. The nonprofit is all about the “ohana,” the love, the families coming together for one perfect day—maybe their only perfect day all year long.

encore and Surfers Healing partnered to raise funds for the surf camp through various events over the last four months. We held a holiday 50/50 raffle that raised $3,050 in December, followed by the Wine Not Friday held at Whole Foods the night before the Best Of party, which raised an additional $495. Ticket sales to the Best Of totaled $6,685, with other funds raised through donations, raffles and sponsors, all totaling $2,569. With the community’s help, we were able to raise $12,799 for Surfers Healing Wrightsville Beach NC, and after costs for the party, they will have $9,276 to utilize for the 2017 June camp.

The Best Of party was a smash thanks to The Beach Ball theme: Are you a surfer or a greaser? Folks donned their spiffiest floral beach wear, perfect for an unusual 80-degree day on Feb. 25. Others slicked back their pompadours and took a chance with black leather to showcase a too-cool-for-school vibe. But the winners of our costume contest were the Baywatchers from Slice of Life who scored local gift certificates to Fork n Cork, The District, The Fortunate Glass, and PT’s Olde Fashioned Grill.

With surf tunes blaring through the house, Da Howlies playing their brand of “da kine Hawaiian music” and Pineapple-Shaped Lamps zipping through many island themed and “West Side Story” skits—“Jaws” soundtrack included—the 450-deep crowd was entertained through the announcement of 137 award winners. They ate from nominees who were kind enough to donate lots of delicious grub throughout the night, with drinks in hand and smiles on point for all the pics Chris Brehmer captured.

encore culled over 30,000 votes for its 2017 Best Of, between nominees and final votes. Anyone with  a valid email address can vote as part of our annual Best Of contest, wherein winners are chosen by the public, not encore staff members. New this year, throughout our Best Of reporting will be the reveal of percentages by which contestants won.

While we allow local businesses and groups to campaign so their patrons/fans will vote for them, we do lay a few ground rules in campaigning practices. No, we’re not the NC Board of Elections but we want to play fair, so we ask voters:

1.) No stuffing the ballot box! Don’t vote under multiple email addresses, or encourage customers and employees to do so. If you have a list of e-mail addresses that don’t belong to you, please, don’t fill out ballots in their names.

2.) Do not entice patrons/fans into voting by offering specials, discounts or prizes in exchange for votes.

Folks who missed voting will have to wait until fall 2017 when we start the process over again. And anyone who missed out on our fundraiser for Surfers Healing can still help: The nonprofit will hold their golf tournament on Mar. 31 at Castle Bay Country Club. For information, contact Rob Kelly at 910-352-6493 or e-mail him at

Nonprofits who are interested in partnering with encore for the 2018 Best Of will be able to apply at the end of April; it will be a year-long partnership not only for Best Of but to help in other areas of promoting the nonprofit and their numerous events. Check for information on how to apply.

And, now, let us introduce the 2017 class of encore’s Best Of Wilmington. Click below links to read all about it. Cheers!

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Best Of Wilmington

Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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