The number five is powerful: We have five fingers on each hand, and five senses — that we know of. The ancients represented the world with the number five, for the four elements of earth, water, fire and air plus the ether, or spirit. Many five-sided shapes appear in nature. And then there’s that really big, uh, pentagon in Washington, D.C.
It’s not as mystical as all that, but for five years, Seven Days readers have been picking the “Daysies.” That’s our term for the “best” restaurants, artists, stores, festivals, journalists, politicians and in the area where Seven Days is delivered.
You — the electorate — turn out to be a fiercely loyal bunch. Many of the businesses and individuals you’ll see here — 32, to be exact — have won in their category five years in a row. Such consistency deserves an even higher honor: recognition of “perennial” excellence.
That said, it’s always exciting to see some upsets and upstarts, and this year’s survey has its share. Your challenge is to spot them on these pages. One will be easy: the Best Seven Days Reader! For the first time ever, we offered voters the opportunity to explain why they are fans of Seven Days. No offense to our other 77,000-some readers, but Kimberly Thoren’s answer made us feel especially warm and fuzzy. You’ll find Kimberly’s response and some of our other favorites in this section.
Thanks, as always, to the community of advertisers and readers who help make Vermont the “best” in so many ways, and that keep this locally owned, alternative newsweekly thriving — in print and online. Without you we’d be pushing up You-Know-What.
Nearly 2350 people voted in our Daysies competition. More than 2000 — nearly twice as many readers as last year — responded online, which made the annual “counting party” go a whole lot faster. Electronic polling also makes it easier to get feedback from you, including suggestions for new categories to consider next time. A number of weary voters wryly commented that there are too damn many categories already. Duly noted. We’re not looking to add more, but rather to replace or reword, to shake things up a little.
If we don’t heed your recommendation, it will probably be for one of the following reasons:
Your suggested category is too specific, and nearly everyone would have a different answer. Example: Best Dentist. Do you even know any other than your own?
Your suggested category is too broad or vague, such as Best Summertime Activity. Again, not enough consensus for the results to have meaning. The category is mystifying — Best Exiled Burlingtonian? — or not enough people are familiar with the subject: Examples include Best Graphic Designer and, sadly, Best Vermont Poet. Similarly, some of you wanted Best Bartender back, but here’s the thing: When we offered that category several years ago, few of you actually knew your favorite slinger’s name. The vast majority left it blank.
To those of you who kvetched that some of the categories are not relevant to your life (“I’ve been married 20 years. Why would I go to a bridal shop?”), we have this advice: Skip them. Nobody said you had to fill out the whole survey. Just enough to make it count.
Finally, a handful of readers wish we would make the ballot multiple-choice because they can’t remember all the options. Sheesh, you want us to fill it out for you, too? When we were done rolling our eyes, we came up with this retort: No freaking way, and you need to get out more.