Win, lose or tie, the Best of Marathon is a great community event for a good cause. Hosted by the Marathon Rotary Club and Weekly Newspapers, the annual event serves to highlight what’s excellent about Marathon.
Cynthia and Michael Minni, right, congratulate Sara Hand of Salty Dog Grooming as she joins the winner’s circle of Best New Business. The Minni’s won in 2018 and 2017.
“You never expect to win,” said Marathon Councilman Mark Senmartin, pictured second from right, who won Best Elected Official in 2019 and also in 2015. He said it’s a nice affirmation that the work he’s putting in is being noticed for the right reasons. He also has the distinction of sitting at the “winning-est” table with Elise Mucha of Brutus (Best Lunch), Joanna and Frank of Frank’s Grill (Best Ethnic Food), Lily Senmartin, Senmartin and Beatrice Sierra of Isla Bella (Best Place to Have a Wedding).
In 2019, the Marathon Rotary Club put all of its eggs in one proverbial basket and bestowed all of its honors on a single man — Mike “Mr. Marathon” Puto. He is a former county commissioner, fire chief and city manager and well-loved figure in Marathon.
Sheila Cook, second from right, shows up to celebrate her win for Best Coffee from the Art Studio’s Coffee Loft. She’s pictured with Ria Rodriguez, Tiffany Kidwell and her mama, Joy Elledge.
RobYn and Chris Still of The Tackle Box accept the award for Best Bait & Tackle Shop. That’s an important role in the Florida Keys!
Cassin Kathleen accepts the award for Best Overall Restaurant on behalf of Lena and Sergei Proudnik of Key Colony Inn. Congratulations!
Weekly publisher Jason Koler, left, and local attorney Patrick Stevens hosted the night’s entertainment which included many all-in-good-fun jokes about the community.
Willie Gonzalez accepts the Best Place to Work Out award on behalf of Keys Fitness. Someone points a meaningful finger. (The Gonzalez family also took home its rightful Best Landscaping award, too.)
Jo Ann Cook wins with a super happy staff. Representing ReMax All Keys Real Estate are Frank Griffiths, left, Ben Daniels, Cook, Debbie Smith, Ally Kelley, and Mallory Morton.
Those legs! The FKEC’s Darrell Birkhimer wears a tux, plus shorts and water sandals, to render faster service at the event’s bar.
Ben Daughtry of Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters went home with the coveted Best Business award in 2019.