Last year I started this letter by telling you, our readers, that y’all have a lot of opinions. And I’m so proud to report this year that y’all have even more than I thought – 167,957 of them to be exact. That’s how many reader votes we received this year for our annual Best Of awards.
The result was a lot of time pouring through votes and 285 well-deserving winners in both reader and staff picks on page 50. To be honest though, I wish there were more. Each year our staff gets hung up on a few categories, and for 2017 the most hotly contested was Best Burger. Some might say we are a taco town, others might say we’re a barbecue town, but if you ask me, we are Cowtown in every sense of the word. The burgers here are just the best. Kincaids, Fred’s, Rodeo Goat, Burger Street — honestly, sometimes the options are overwhelming. But this year, for Staff Pick we excitedly settled on a surprise, and my mouth is watering just thinking about it.
The most obvious winner of all is on our cover – that’s Katie Murray, our pick for Best Artist. She doesn’t just represent the best artist in the city right now; she represents the pulse of the city. Her work is popping up all over town and simultaneously recognizing new developments, young artists, fresh faces and a more colorful city. In short, her brushstrokes represent a snapshot of Fort Worth right now.
But you know what they say, different strokes for different folks. Those were my exact thoughts when associate editor Samantha Calimbahin, a self-proclaimed “nerd” with Funko Pop! Vinyl bobbleheads (yes, she had to teach me what that was) on her desk, came up with the idea for “May the Fort Be With You” on page 102. She wanted to shine a light on a rarely talked about group of Fort Worthians who know how to take a passion and develop it into a lifestyle and a career. My favorite part of this story, besides the beautiful design that surrounds it, was hearing Samantha ask in interviews almost daily, “So, just how nerdy would you say Fort Worth is?”
Finally, in honor of Juneteenth, Brittany Ryan sat down with Opal Lee, a 90-year-old Fort Worthian who’s on a mission to make Juneteenth a national holiday. I read the story, on page 122, laughing, then smiling, then giggling, and suddenly, at the very end, I was crying. And we all know that’s the best kind of story.
Happy Best Of Issue,