Skip to main content

About the Best of the Best contest

In the Frederick News-Post's Best of the Best contest, readers have the last word.

Since 2015, Frederick County residents have been voting for their favorite local businesses, organizations and attractions in hundreds of categories. It's the biggest contest of its kind in Frederick County, with hundreds of thousands of votes cast annually.

The contest proceeds in three phases – a nomination phase, a first round of voting and a final round of voting.

1. Nomination round

The contest starts with a nomination round, where readers can propose business, organizations and names for the all of the categories, including new categories.

This keeps the contest fresh, as new businesses and organizations come to the county and as existing ones change and grow.

2. First voting round

In the first voting round, readers vote to winnow the big list of nominated businesses, organizations and attractions down to just the Top Five in each category.

3. Final voting round

The excitement builds with voting on the Top Five businesses, organizations and attractions in each category! This is the final voting round, and from this will be crowned Frederick County's Best of the Best!

Sign up for the BOB Insider Newsletter to get all the latest on Frederick's Best of the Best contest, including special offers from top BOB contenders.

Need keepsake copies of publications announcing past winners?

We've got you covered.

Contact us at or call 301-662-1163 to arrange to pick up your copies. Quantities are limited, so get 'em while they're hot.

BOB FAQ 2022

Final Voting Round Update as of 8/8/22:

The dates for the Final Voting Round have changed from Sept. 10-16, 2022 to Sept. 11-17, 2022

Changes for 2022:

Update 6/20: In the Shopping group, we've added the category Best Feed and Agriculture Store (Regional).

Update 6/16: In the Services group, we've added the category Best Custom Cake Decorating.

• The following categories have been added to the 2022 contest: Live Theater Company (Children), Permanent Makeup, Financial Planner (Individual), Fire Company and Best Junk Removal/Trash service.

• Because there were not enough nominations and/or low public engagement during voting last year, we removed these categories from this year’s contest: Bridal/Formal Wear Shop, Law Firm – Criminal Law, Innovational Company, Motorcycle Shop and Tanning Salon.

• The Bakery, Butcher Shop and Candy Store categories that were in the Food group last year have been moved to the Shopping group for 2022. The Catering Company category, which was also in the Food group last year, has been moved to Services this year.

Q: How does Best of the Best work?

Best of the Best is a readers’ choice awards contest conducted by The Frederick News-Post in Frederick County, Maryland. It includes a Nomination Period (to make sure we have relevant businesses and organizations) and two voting rounds:

• Nomination Period: In the Nomination Period, readers add the names of their favorite businesses or organizations to the contest. Anyone can nominate entrants that meet the category criteria. Go to: It only takes one qualified nomination for a business to move to the first voting round.

• First Round Voting (to determine the Top 5): The First Round serves to narrow the list of contenders down to the top five vote-getters in each category – only the top five go on to the final round. After the nominations are in, and after we take a few days to confirm the eligibility of new entrants, we open up voting at You may vote once per day in each category.

• Final Voting Round (to determine the winners and finalists): In the second and final voting round, votes determine a winner and two finalists from the top five contenders in each category. You’ll have seven days to vote in the final round at Once again, you may vote once per day in each category.

Q: What are the key dates for 2022?

• Nomination Period: June 15-19, 2022

• First Round Voting: July 27-Aug. 2, 2022

• Final Voting Round: Sept. 11-17, 2022

• Winners announced: Oct. 22, 2022

Q: I nominated my business, but I don’t see it showing up on the website. Why is that?

If you’re looking at the site during the nomination period and don’t see a business you nominated, fear not! All valid entries are considered and reviewed. But in order for a nomination to show up on the site, we have to approve it manually. Because we receive thousands (upon thousands!) of nominations, we may get backlogged.

The good news is your business only has to be nominated once to make it to the first round of voting, assuming it met the guidelines. And if it did meet the guidelines, it does not matter if it showed up on the site during the nomination period: It will move to First Round Voting.

Q: What guidelines do we use to determine whether a nominated business qualifies for the first voting round?

Before voting opens, our Best of the Best Team does its best to vet all nominees.

Here are the guidelines we use, with exceptions as noted below:

• Unless the category is labeled "Regional" or there is an exception noted below, the nominee must operate in Frederick County, Maryland. If the category is labeled “Regional,” the category is open to nominees from Frederick and nearby counties. See below for specific limitations because regional eligibility sometimes varies by category.

• In some categories that are not labeled "Regional," businesses that are on the border of Frederick County may be deemed eligible at our discretion.

• Most categories are restricted to local businesses and organizations, in the sense of being locally owned and operated, not national brands, chains or franchises. Some categories, noted below, are open to national or regional businesses and brands. Small regional groups, at our discretion, may be considered local businesses.

• We reserve the right to disqualify a business or organization from a category that does not represent a significant focus of its activities.

• Nominees must, in most categories, be open to the general public. (That is, no restrictive membership organizations.) Exceptions include golf courses and bingo events.

• Nominations for individual categories, like Best Bartender, must include the nominee's full name and place of business.

Application of our criteria is not an exact science. The Best of the Best Team uses its best judgment; if you think we’ve made an error, please email


• Arts & Entertainment – The Family Entertainment, Live Music Venue and Romantic Getaway categories are open to destinations in adjacent counties. The Local Band category is open to bands that perform regularly in Frederick County. In the Best Live Theater Company (Children) category, dance schools that stage theatrical productions—not including year-end recitals—are eligible.

• Auto – Chains/franchises and national companies are eligible in all categories.

• Beer, Wine, Liquor – The Wineries category is open to wineries in counties adjacent to Frederick County.

• Body & Soul – Local businesses only, expect in the Health and Fitness Club category, where all companies operating in Frederick County are eligible, including chains and franchises. Also: Chiropractors are not eligible in the Holistic Health Practice category.

• Community Interest – Local businesses only, except in the Company to Work For category, where national companies and franchises operating in the county are eligible. The Nonprofit category is intended for special service-oriented nonprofit businesses, not membership or professional organizations.

• Destinations – Local businesses only, expect in the Lodging category, where all companies operating in Frederick County are eligible, including chains and franchises. The Golf Course, Place to Camp, Museum, and Wedding Venue categories are open to nominees in adjacent counties. In the Small Town category, towns with a population of 20,000 or less are eligible. The city of Frederick, for instance, is not eligible in this category. Also, this category is limited to towns in Frederick County.

• Dining Experience – This category is reserved for locally run places to eat, as opposed to national chains. The Best Food Truck category is open to any food truck nominated by our readers.

• Food – Local businesses only, except in the following categories, where all companies are eligible: Chicken Wings, French Fries, Fried Chicken, Hot Dog, Pizza. 

• Health – In categories where we asked for practices/businesses, we exclude individual practitioners, unless they operate solo practices named after themselves. Local businesses only, except in the Cardiology Practice and Regional Hospital categories, which are open to entrants in adjacent counties. Hospitals in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore are not eligible.

• Home – Local businesses only, except in the following categories, where all companies operating in the county are eligible: Heating and Air Company, Home Builder, Home Décor/Furnishings, Home Improvement Company, Landscape Company, Pest Control Company, Real Estate Company and Tree Service Company.

• Kids & Education – Local businesses only, except in the Child Care Center category, which is open to any with a presence in the county. Also, Child Care Center is open to licensed providers only. The College/University category is open to schools within a short trip (a couple of hours), including campuses of the University of Maryland. The Summer Camp category is open to camps in adjacent counties, too.

• Pets – Two categories—Boarding/Daycare and Pet Store—are open to national chains or franchises that operate in the county.

• Services – Local businesses only, except in these following categories where national companies and franchises operating in the county are eligible: Auction Company, Assisted Living Community, Cleaning Service, Funeral Home, Insurance Agency, Mortgage Lender, Retirement Community, Tax Preparation Company and Travel and Tour Services. In the Travel and Tour Services category, businesses operating in Frederick County with locations in adjacent counties are eligible.

The Best Photographer and the Best Videographer categories are intended for professionals only.

The Insurance Agency category is open to locally based offices or teams of agents or brokers selling insurance directly to buyers. The category is not intended for individual agents, unless they are sole proprietors of an agency or brokerage, in which case that agency or brokerage may be nominated under their name. Commercial Real Estate is open to companies owning, leasing or selling property in Frederick County.

• Shopping – Local businesses only, except in the following categories are open to local businesses operating in adjacent counties: Book/Comic Store and Gun Shop. The Full-Service Supermarket category is open to all major stores operating in the county. The Butcher Shop category is open to butchers in adjacent counties. National brands and franchises are eligible in the Jewelry Store category.

We reserve the right to change these guidelines. Check back on this for current guidelines.

Q: My business was nominated, and I saw it on the website during the nomination period, but it is not showing up in the voting round. Why?

See the guidelines answer above. After nominations close and before voting opens, our team does its best to vet all nominees. While your business may have appeared during the nomination period, our team may have determined it was ineligible for the voting round.

Q: My business was nominated, but did not make it to the First Voting Round. I think it should have. How do I register a complaint?

Email us at within 24 hours after the first voting period opens. You must identify the category and tell us why you think your business should have been included.

Like most humans, we sometimes make mistakes, and if we have, we’ll add your business within moments of our decision.

Q: How are the winners selected?

Winners are those that received the most votes in their category. Finalists are those that received the second- and third-most votes in their category.

If there is a tie, we will announce both winners and/or finalists.

Q: Why does this contest allow people to nominate/vote every day?

The Frederick Best of the Best contest allows daily voting and nominations—once per person per day per category—because daily voting rewards those entrants with passionate supporters. With a single vote per person, entrants with the best name recognition have a distinct advantage, as many voters skim over categories and cast their votes casually. That kind of popularity is an important part of finding the best of Frederick. But we also want to reward the sense of passion some people have for their local favorites, which can be captured in daily voting.

Also: This contest is fundamentally about celebrating and supporting great Frederick institutions by raising their profile and helping them gain new fans. With daily voting, the contest raises the visibility of those businesses and organizations that use it to reach out to new and existing customers to ask for their support, through advertising and through their own channels.

Q: Is it okay to use multiple email accounts to vote even more times?

Voting is limited to one vote per person per day. Even though we require sign-ups, we recognize that some people, in their enthusiasm, may be tempted to vote several times using different email accounts. We do have systems in place to detect fraudulent voting. When we see evidence of fraudulent voting, we may eliminate all the votes cast by the voters. In extreme cases, we will remove entrants, as well.

We reserve the right to change these guideline. Check back here for updates.

Search the site