Seven Daysies: Annual Guide to Readers' Picks
2012 Guide to Readers' Picks
Something smelled fishy about this year’s Daysies results. After counting the nearly 7000 ballots, we noticed some strange new winners. Don’t get us wrong — there’s nothing we love more than doling out new Daysies, but these were suspicious. We’d never heard of Liquid: Hair for Men in Burlington, which had ostensibly snagged the Daysie for best hair salon. And we love Shelburne’s Furchgott Sourdiffe Gallery but were shocked to find that it had raked in more votes than Burlington’s BCA Center, the perennial winner of best art gallery.
Still on high alert from a ballot-stuffing incident during our Best of the Beasts Pet Photo Contest last spring, our intrepid deputy online editor Tyler Machado combed over the Daysies results. Sure enough, he uncovered 435 identical ballots — a sure sign of a cheater.
So we did a recount.
Many longtime winners reclaimed their positions at the top, including Indigo, the BCA Center, Cheese Traders & Wine Sellers, the Edge, Oakledge Park, Sweet Lady Jane and Ecco Clothes for Women & Men. Congrats to those reliable favorites.
But we are excited to honor a whole new crop of Daysie winners this year.
In a Burlington-centric contest, we’re always thrilled to recognize winners outside Chittenden County — we didn’t in every category, just where the number of votes was significant. This year, Waterbury’s Green Mountain Camera and Barre’s Bob’s Camera & Video came in second and third, respectively, handily knocking down South Burlington’s PhotoGarden — LeZot Camera Center on Church Street held onto the gold inside Chittenden County.
Parents go bonkers for the Pump House Indoor Waterpark at Jay Peak, which took home a new Daysie for best day trip with the kids. And Girlington Garage blew away the competition in another new category, best place for car repairs.
When it comes to free Wi-Fi hot spots, nothing compares to Starbucks, where web surfers can nurse a single cup of coffee for hours without guilt. But locals do love their homegrown establishments, such as Crow Bookshop, which once again narrowly edged out Barnes & Noble.
Comedian Nathan Hartswick stood up against reigning champs Rusty DeWees and Josie Levitt.
Many voters seemed really sad about the concept of drinking alone. When asked about the best place to do it, one person wrote, “In my kitchen with the lights off.” Another responded somewhat nonsensically (but we got the idea), “A bottle full of my tears.” Most agreed that home is the best place for solo drinking, but the rest threw their votes in for Burlington dive the Other Place.
After reading voters’ responses to the hippest-hipster category, we felt kind of bad awarding it to anyone. We thought the category was funny — and complex, because, as a few voters noted, nobody self-identifies as a hipster. We were amazed, though, at your collective disdain for all things hipsteriffic.
So here’s hoping that Ben Sarle, photographer and editor of Thread Magazine, will carry the title with dignity and good humor. Sarle beat out Charles “Chicky” Winkleman — whose Facebook address, for the record, is hipsterjew — despite pleas to his Facebook friends not to vote for him. Talk about reverse psychology. Other hipster contenders included dug Nap, whom several voters referred as “the original hipster,” and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The senator also made an appearance in another new category, best hair on a local personality. But that Daysie ultimately went to the über-deserving wild mane of Point DJ Mike Luoma. We’re proud to say that a few of our own — including redheads co-editor Pamela Polston and music editor Dan Bolles — pulled in votes for best hair.
Finally, to that odious ballot stuffer: We wish we knew who you are. If we did, you better believe we’d be awarding you the first-ever Stinky Daysie of Shame. Cheating is lame, folks. Here’s to the winners, new and old, who came by their Daysies fair and square.
We loved reading the responses to this year’s bonus questions, especially best hair on a local personality.
Point DJ Mike Luoma handily took home the Daysie for his wild, curly mane, and meteorology god Tom Messner earned runner-up for his perky blond crop. But we loved this comment from one astute voter: “[WCAX anchor] Kristin Carlson … it’s like ribbon candy.” “Miro [Weinberger] has pretty nice hair,” remarked another voter. And this question in a vote for Eye on the Sky guy Steve Maleski made us laugh: “Have you been to [VPR’s] Eye on the Sky website?” Do it; we’ll wait. Chelsea Ressler from Burlington’s Second Time Around got several shout-outs, as did Grace Potter, WCAX’s Gina Bullard, NECN’s Jack Thurston and, of course, Darren Perron and his “understated fauxhawk.” Sen. Bernie Sanders came in third, just above the LeMay sisters, for his untamed tufts of white. And we’re proud of the luscious locks of our own Pamela Polston, Dan Bolles, Matthew Thorsen and Eva Sollberger, all of whom got votes.
Still, we didn’t even have to know who voters were talking about to enjoy their hair comments. “Devon who’s around and used to work at Price Chopper,” one person wrote. “Really held onto the Jedi braid for a while.” We’ll be keeping an eye out for you, Devon.
When it came to hippest hipster, most voters gave a collective groan. Many used the opportunity to pick on the tall-bike-riding, skinny-jeans-wearing kids who hang out in front of Radio Bean, which, frankly, we thought was a little mean. Hipsters are people, too, folks.
The votes were scattered — nobody got more than 30. But Thread editor Ben Sarle topped the list, followed by Burlington comedian Charles “Chicky” Winkleman. Congrats, guys!
We all knew that Tropical Storm Irene — or, as many respondents referred to it, “Irene, you bitch” — would be everybody’s pick for worst thing to happen in Vermont over the last year. But we were surprised when respondents named it the best thing, too.
Well, not the storm, exactly, but the community response to it: the way Vermonters came together to rebuild their homes and communities.
Sure, Daysies voters selected other good things, too. Last year’s mild winter meant less shoveling, which many people loved — others complained that this was the worst thing about last year. Voters raved about President Barack Obama’s visit last spring, the election of Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Gov. Peter Shumlin, the ban on fracking, health care reform, and the Alchemist’s canning of Heady Topper. Other favorites: “Shumlin vs. bears,” Chipotle coming to Burlington and the opening of the Champlain bridge.
What else did Vermonters hate about last year? The murder of the young St. Johnsbury Academy teacher Melissa Jenkins, the suicide at the Occupy Burlington encampment, the possibility of F-35s coming to BTV, and the Burlington Free Press redesign. Some people had addendums to their votes for Irene, often to hilarious effect, e.g., “Irene and Justin Bieber.”
Still, for better or worse, that flood defined us last year. On that most Daysies voters, a diverse and opinionated bunch, were in agreement. “Helping each other during Irene” was the best thing to happen last year, wrote one respondent. “How everyone pulled together,” wrote another. “Togetherness after Irene,” wrote one more. Now, almost a year since the storm tore through this state, we’re reminded that we live in one hell of a resilient and compassionate place.
Click on the links below to see lists of winners and runners-up by category.