This year’s Best of Columbia issue marks the 25th anniversary of the annual readers’ poll, first launched by Free Times in 1989.
And make no mistake: Best of Columbia is a readers’ poll — we aren’t handing out awards to whoever spent the most money on advertising, nor are the writers and editors of Free Times deciding who gets the nod in any given category. The winners presented here are your choices. So, whether you’re thrilled or disappointed with the results, just know that the verdict reflects the will of the people.
The Best of Columbia poll has come a long way since the days of full-page, paper-only ballots. These days, voting is online-only and readers are voting in greater numbers than ever.
That’s not the only thing that’s changed, either: Your tastes have become more discerning, too. Though homogenous corporations still win in some categories, your choices overall have become more locally focused in the past few years, zeroing in on the things that make Columbia such an eclectic and charming city. Some people have argued in years past that we should ban national chains from winning; we’ve always said that the Best Of Columbia poll should reflect local tastes, not dictate them — and we’re glad to see that local tastes continue to evolve.
Of course, just like our readers, writers and editors are an opinionated bunch, too. So — just as we do every year — we have included Writers’ Picks in categories where we feel the voters might have overlooked a worthy competitor.
Bluegrass, Bidding, and BBQ
Join The Palladium Society Thursday, October 23rd from 7-10 p.m. for its 11th annual silent auction, featuring music by The Mustache Brothers and catering by Bourbon and The Oak Table. Tickets are $30 at the door and include admission, drinks, and food. Get yours online now!
3LAU on Sunday, October 26th and the Unofficial Skrillex Mothership Tour After-Party on the 27th. More information and tickets for both can be found here. VIP tables available.
King Lear in Finlay Park
October 16th-18th and 22nd-25th, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company presents William Shakespeare’s King Lear. All performances held at the Finlay Park Ampitheatre at 7:30 PM. For tickets and more information, click here or call 803-665-2000.
Four Miles, Twelve Doughnuts
Winston’s Wish aims to increase knowledge and understanding of children with autism, and you can help by participating in the 4.donut Race on October 25th. Start at Edventure Children’s Museum, run 2 miles to Krispy Kreme, eat 12 doughnuts, and run back! Registration is required and can be done here before October 23rd at 5 p.m.
The Other Place at Trustus Theatre
Juliana Smithton is a successful neurologist whose life seems to be coming unhinged. A mystery unfolds as fact blurs with fiction, past collides with present and the elusive truth of Juliana’s mental health boils to the surface in The Other Place, running at Trustus Theatre October 17th through November 1st. There will be a talk-back following the matinee on October 19th. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling the box office at 803-254-9732.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Cupcake now hiring a closing manager. Must be outgoing, customer service focused, able to work evenings and weekends. Apply in person. 1213 Lincoln Street, Columbia SC 29201. freshcupcakes.com
Local business is searching for new associates who are looking for a fun environment to earn great wages. Great position for college students/recent graduates. Must be well-mannered with excellent customer service skills/work ethic/ability to lift heavy items/must have valid Driver’s License. Call 803-376-4884 or email resume: email@example.com.
Real Estate Spotlight
Mungo Homes. Celebrating 60 years of our family building for your family. mungo.com
COOL CARE HEATING & AIR Fall Into Savings With Cool Care By Your Side! coolcarehvac.com
Town Center Apartment Homes in Lake Carolina THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. Bran new apartments inside award-winning Lake Carolina. towncenteratlakecarolina.com
The Lake Carolina new home community has it all! 1 YMCA, 3 pools, 10 parks, 20+ community events each year, and much more! Learn more. www.lakecarolina.com