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How the community responded to the 2021 Best of Forsyth ceremony this year
Best of Forsyth 2021
This year’s ceremony was held at four locations: Tam’s Backstage, Branchwater, Marie’s Italian Deli and Tacos and Tequilas Mexican Grill, and live-streamed for all to see. - photo by Tracie Pike

The 2021 Best of Forsyth awards ceremony looked a little different than past years, but most guests didn’t seem to mind.

Until this year, award-winners have gathered at a central location to celebrate, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s ceremony was held at four locations: Tam’s Backstage, Branchwater, Marie’s Italian Deli and Tacos and Tequilas Mexican Grill.

“The event was a first of its kind for us, but seemed to go pretty well and everyone seemed to have a great time,” said FCN publisher Stephanie Woody. “We are glad that we were able to find a way to continue the tradition of honoring the success of those in our community.”

While this year’s event featured fewer winners at each location, many of those who attended said the smaller venues provided a more intimate and personal experience and even let the restaurants show offerings to customers who might not usually eat there.

“I think it was super fun and really cool that it was in small venues because we felt like we were more of a part of the night … and got to participate a little bit more and also, a little bit show off,” said Cathy Vorbeck, with Marie’s Italian Deli, which won Best Deli for the seventh straight year. “We had a lot of people who attended here who had never been here before, so it was fun to have them here.”

Rev. Bruce Petty with Today’s Chaplain, who won the award for Best Chaplain, said along with the awards show that businesses are supported by the community, it gives company leaders a chance to meet.

“From talking with other business owners, they’re busy when it comes and I do this, too… I really encourage everyone to vote, and they encourage me to vote for them, so I think there is a lot of comradery and supporting each other as business owners,” Petty said. “It happened [the night of the event], I met some business owners that I didn’t know because they were at my table. That was awesome.

“For me personally, I made a business connection with a business owner that might lead to business with someone in the future.”

Kendra Rubin, owner of the Punk & Poet Cut and Color Co., winner of Best of Hair Colorist, said she doesn’t often get involved with networking events, but she felt the awards ceremony was a good way to celebrate small businesses who have had a tough year.

“I attribute last night to all of the support and loyalty of the residents in my county and beyond,” she said. “Our clients and friends really came through for us; voting every single day, and I will be forever grateful.”

After almost 18,000 nominations, this year’s awards featured 285 winners with more than 358,000 votes cast.

“We say all the time that we have the absolute best customers in the world, and especially with this last year with everything that is going on, we just felt so supported and loved, and it just shows through,” Vorbeck said. “They come through every year for us voting, and they came through big time financially this year keeping us in business. It means a lot.”

The Forsyth County News thanks our title sponsor Andean Chevrolet; Gold Sponsor Cumming Pediatric Group; and bronze sponsors Billy Howell FordPrimrose School of Cumming North, Los Rios Mexican Restaurant and Financial Consultants Group - Fountain Financial Advisors.

Stay tuned for a photo gallery of the event.

Winner's celebrate at Marie's Italian Deli on Thursday, Jan. 28.