#News: Locals celebrate the best of Marathon  (The who’s and the what’s are tallied, celebrated) - A man standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera - Weekly Newspapers

The Best of Marathon awards banquet was a sell out affair at the Key Colony Beach City Hall last weekend. One hundred and fifty citizens took their seats at the tables and many more were crowded around tall cocktail tables for the event that celebrates what’s best about Marathon. The crowd included elected officials and candidates, plus business owners and volunteers.

Emcees Jason Koler, Pete Chapman and John Bartus kept the commentary and jokes very clean. The funniest bit were some fake text messages that poked at Marathon Mayor Dick Ramsay’s idiosyncratic pronunciations and Marathon attorney John Wolfe’s aspirations to be named best lawyer (he was). There was also a “Top 10” of future development projects ranging from an elaborate pergola-style shade structure for the D’Bus Stop, a Mount Bullmore (Rushmore) carved into the dirt piles in front of City Hall featuring the faces of city officials, and a spoof of a John Dick and Chris Bull’s gentlemen’s club.

The winners that went home with more than one plaque included Hawk’s Cay (Best Place to Have a Wedding, Best Resort), Sparky’s Landing (Best Bar, Best Happy Hour), Aquarium Encounters (Best New Business and Phil Sadowski Community Development Award), and Captain Hooks (Best Bait & Tackle, Best Marina).

Some of the races were really tight. Only 36 votes separated the winner (John Dick) from second (Chris Bull) and third place (Mark Senmartin) in the Best Elected Official category. The Best Fish Sandwich was a hotly contested three-way match between Fish Tales, Brutus Seafood and the winner, Keys Fisheries. The Hurricane, Sunset Grille and Dockside all vied to be named the Best Live Music Venue, but The Hurricane took home the honors again. Upper Crust Pizza garnered three more votes than The Hurricane for Best Pizza. And attorney John Wolfe had six more votes than his colleague Hal Schuhmacher. Capt James Simcic squeaked out a win over fellow fishermen Capt. Jack Carlson and Capt. Diego Cordova.

Locals find it easier to select a winner in some categories. Earning more than 50 percent of the vote were The Turtle Hospital (Best Non-Profit), Frank’s Grill (Best Ethnic Food), and Keys Animal Hospital (Best Vet). The Best Salon, Best Jewelry Store and Best Business went to Salon Blanco, Midas Touch and D’Asign Source, respectively.

The event was for a good cause. Last year it raised almost $6,000 for a new playground at Kreative Kids. This year’s funds will also be allocated for the playground, plus student scholarships.

The food was provided by Castaways, Key Colony Inn, Frank’s Grill, Sweet Savannah’s, Leigh Ann’s Coffee House, Stuffed Pig, Keys Fisheries, Plaza Grill and Sparky’s. The Keys’ own rummakers — Pilar — donated some mighty fine cocktails. The event was sponsored by The Weekly and the Rotary Club of Marathon. Major sponsors included The Weekly, Island Breeze Realty, Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce, City of Key Colony and WAVK.

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