400 Studio: 2019 Best of Forsyth awards ceremony recap
As their names were called, winners made their way down the red carpet on Thursday to accept awards, get their pictures taken and be celebrated by the community for one reason: they were chosen by the community as the best of Forsyth.
On Thursday, the Forsyth County News, and title sponsor Cumming Pediatric Group, hosted the third annual Best of Forsyth awards banquet, where 298 businesses were honored with awards after 398,000 votes from 40,000 individual voters.
“We are honored to be able to bring this event to our community each year. It is humbling to be part of such an exciting celebration that continues to grow year after year,” said FCN Publisher Stephanie Woody. “However, it would not be possible without the partnerships that we have with the businesses in our community, and we are extremely thankful for that. Congratulations to all of the 2019 winners, and we already look forward to next year’s event.”
While the event is in its third year, the annual awards contest is in its fifth, and the first-ever five-time winners were honored near the start of the ceremony.
“I’m just really thankful, and I think we’re doing a good job,” said Miguel Granados, owner of Los Rios Mexican Restaurant, a five-time winner. “That’s why they support us, and that’s what we’re here for.”
In the first contest in 2015, 70,000 votes were cast from the community, more than 300,000 fewer than this year.
Award winners have noticed the step up in competition.
“We’ve definitely seen a lot more in our category show up,” said Robert Lewis, president and CEO of four-time winner Audio Video Excellence, “so it makes it even better for us, at the fact that there’s more competition and we’re still winning.”
Officials with the Humane Society of Forsyth County, also a five-time winner, including Best Non-profit Organization and Best Place to Volunteer in 2019, said the awards were especially important because they were chosen by local voters.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said board member Amy Comstock. “It shows that what we’re doing means a lot to the community, and every year, the community gives back to us more and more.”
“It’s more pressure to be a good place to volunteer, a good place for a non-profit organization, so a great consciousness of our presence in the community,” continued fellow board member Bea Wilson.
In addition to awarding businesses, a longtime public servant was also recognized.
Former Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman – who retired in October after a 50-year career in the fire service, including serving as fire chief since 2003 – was the third recipient of the John Hall Leadership Award, an annual award given at the ceremony to an individual who has history of leadership and service in Forsyth County.
“I will accept this award on behalf of the 30,000 firefighters in the state of Georgia,” Bowman said. “With that, I say, may God bless your families and God bless America. Thank you.”