FestivalSouth and Signature Magazine’s Best of the Pine Belt competition returns with a new schedule and some new categories for the area’s best and brightest. Nominations in all categories begin Jan. 14 and run until Feb. 15. Finalist voting begins March 1 and continues through April 30. Once again, several key categories will be selected to be featured at the Best of the Pine Belt Awards Show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Saenger Theater. Those categories are selected from the nomination and finals voting process. Voting begins May 1 and runs through May 15 in these select areas. All voting takes place at the official festival website

“We are always thrilled to see people take such an interest in promoting the best of our community,” said contest creator Dr. Mike Lopinto. “I hope interested companies and individuals will take advantage of the free promotional materials to help them get nominated and possibly win the title this year.” Nominations are being sought in categories including everything from “Best Place to Take a First Date” to “Best Hamburger” and “Best Shoes” to “Best Volunteer.”

Last year, more than 634,000 votes created a guide to the Pine Belt’s favorite people, places and things that make the area great. Once again, the complete list of ‘best’ will be featured in the festival program that encompasses the June edition of Signature Magazine. This publication is made available at the conclusion of the awards show and then across the city in an extended circulation.

The Best of the Pine Belt Awards Show is a gala, red-carpet evening that is one of the highlights of FestivalSouth. Featuring special guests, awards presentations, live music and more, it is one of the hottest tickets of the festival. “It’s a time for our area’s favorites to get dressed up and celebrate all the wonderful things that make the Pine Belt great,” said David Gustafson, publisher of Signature Magazine.

Nominations began January 15, and finalist were announced live on February 27. Final VOTING begins March 1. CAST YOUR VOTE.



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Antell Young Photography


June 1 - June 17, 2017

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This project is supported in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part, from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.