Focus on Manatee: July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013 

Vote for Bradentonas friendliest

Those of us who live here know just how fortunate we are.

In addition to the warm weather that attracts visitors year-round -- yes, even in the heat of the summertime -- we wholeheartedly take advantage of our amazing dining scene and fun arts community. We enjoy fresh produce from the bounty provided by our farmers, and the fresh fish directly from the Gulf of Mexico. We remember our rich history at local museums, and cheer on our athletes on the fields. We play on our beaches, and watch the sunset at the end of the day.

But what makes Manatee County even more special is the people who live here. Our neighbors, local business owners and community leaders are the heart of our community. We gather and reconnect and meet new friends at events held throughout the year. We welcome newcomers and visitors with smiles and "hellos" and help when needed.

We have incredible, diverse communities that combine to make up our county, from rural towns to beachside villages to the bustling downtown area. When we heard that Rand McNally was running its "Best of the Road" contest again this year, we decided to make a combined effort to promote Bradenton -- nicknamed the "Friendly City" -- as the county's entry into the contest in the "Friendliest" category.

We're thrilled that our community has rallied around the nomination -- voting began July 1, and we're currently No. 1 in the "Friendliest" category, and in the top five overall. Thanks to all who have already voted.

How can we be sure to be recognized on a national scale? We need your help.

Voting is easy:

• Visit www.bestoftheroad.com and create an account with your name and email address. Select a username and a password and you're ready to vote.

• Search for Bradenton and vote in the "Friendliest" category.

• Submit your vote and remember to vote often -- you can vote once every 24 hours.

Once voting ends Sept. 3, a panel of judges will name 30 finalist towns (five in each category -- Best Food, Friendliest, Most Beautiful, Most Fun and Most Patriotic) in mid-September, based on the final number of votes cast.

This is our chance to showcase Manatee County to the rest of the country -- and the world. Let's rally together and take the opportunity to tell our story; we've got plenty of them to share.

Remember, vote early and vote often -- vote every 24 hours for Bradenton for the Friendliest Small Town in America!

Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, can be reached at Elliott.Falcione@BACVB.com or 941-729-9177, ext. 222.

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