The Tribune's annual Best of Tahoe competition is getting a makeover this year — but the heart of the contest remains the same.
Since its conception in the mid-'90s, Best of Tahoe has invited the community to vote for the top businesses, meals, activities and more on South Shore. That concept remains this year, but instead of the focus being on the South Shore — which was the case in the past — the Best of Tahoe 2018 structure opens it up to all of Tahoe.
"Starting Monday, April 2, there is what we call a nomination period. Anybody can write in to enter anyone in the given categories. Basically it's nominating businesses that they feel represent the best in each of the categories.
"The past couple years that I've been a part of this, we have received votes from businesses on the North Shore. Given that our sister sites on the North Shore ran their own voting, we would guide them toward their contest. This year, since the Tribune has assumed the role of the recently dissolved Bonanza, those votes would now count toward our contest making this a true Best of Tahoe," said Tribune Publisher Rob Galloway.
The online voting software also has been updated to minimize the chance of cheating.
"Some people feel like others cheat to try and get the win. People always try to find a way to cheat, so we're trying to mitigate that. There are a couple things that, with the software updates, allow us to detect fraud better than how we've done it before. We're trying to be as legitimate as possible and make sure people don't cheat, so hopefully we catch those," Galloway said.
Those familiar with Best of Tahoe will notice category modifications in the 2018 contest: Some — like Best Overall Restaurant and Best Annual Event — have been removed completely to make way for new additions like Best Chef, Best Outdoor Patio and Best Sports Bar, while others have been condensed or tweaked (for example, Best Winter Recreation Retailer and Best Summer Recreation Retailer have combined into Best Sporting Goods Store).
Apart from the slight changes in approach to voting, Best of Tahoe 2018 also will introduce a celebratory event at the end of the competition. While all winners will be announced in print close to the Fourth of July, there will be a party to commemorate the contest on Thursday, June 28, at MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa. At the event, 20 of over 100 category winners will be announced.
While event details are still being solidified, Galloway noted that it will be free, casual and open to the entire community.
"It's designed to be fun, and celebratory in announcing and highlighting the folks who won Best of Tahoe," he said.