When we first introduced a two-part voting structure for our annual Watermark Awards for Variety and Excellence, or WAVEs, we wondered if the added step would leave a lower turnout at the polls.
We were surprised to find that the first year with the new system fetched us more votes than we had ever had before. In the past two years, we have continued with the two-part voting process and you have continued to surprise us with your turnout.This year, we had thousands of more votes than any other year since we started the WAVEs. We could not be more proud of the amazing people, places and organizations that you all choose to spotlight and honor.
To recap: We asked you, our loyal readers, to write in your favorites in 50 categories. They ranged from favorite politician, activist and actor to favorite restaurant, fitness center and theater. Then we calculated all of your votes, determined the top three in each category and gave you another crack at voting. In these pages are your winners.
We also asked you who you would like to see in this issue’s center spread. The battle was fierce but in the end Central Florida and Tampa Bay each voted on their chosen model and, as we do every year with the cover, each area has its own unique centerfold.
So as we wrap another successful WAVEs campaign we say congratulations to all the winners and extend a huge thank you to all of our faithful readers. Cheers to you all!