Valley Sentinel’s 1st annual Best of the Lower Wisconsin River Valley reader poll

Valley Sentinel is excited to announce our 1st Annual Best of the River Valley reader poll! Drawing inspiration from cities like Eau Claire, Madison and Milwaukee, we’re excited to facilitate this reader poll that showcases your voice in sharing the best of what our area has to offer to our community and those who visit it.

With winners announced in June, the Best of the River Valley is designed to maximize engagement with area businesses and attractions heading into the busy summer months. This is especially important with various highway closures in the area, at a time we are still grappling with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Best of the River Valley is not only a complement to existing guides that help community and newcomers alike navigate our area, but also a time to share where you believe the area is headed, what the area needs to focus on, and also a place to brag about your business or your favorite Old Fashioned, with a healthy competitive spirit.

As voting opens in May, tools will be made available to businesses and those interested to share the poll and get out the word and drum up support for their favorites. But no funny business! Literally. Exchanging free or discounted goods and services for votes is prohibited.

The poll will focus on the goings-on of the past year, from June 2020 to May 2021. It will cover various categories from the staple business services, to outdoor adventures, to arts and culture. Winners will range from businesses to natural areas to artists and specific signature cocktails and burgers.

We want to emphasize this is a soft announcement, details and much more are still being finalized and everything will be ironed out over the next couple weeks. We’ll need your help in the meantime, we want your thoughts and feedback, this is YOUR poll, YOU decide the winners.

If there are categories and questions you believe we should add, let us know and we will consider them for this year or next.

Best of the River Valley is an extension of our passion to build community and is one of many ideas that we hope will become a part of what makes our community so great. This is a trial run of something new, so please bear with us. In a normal year we might invite the community out to celebrate at the end of voting to announce winners, and while this year is not a normal year it doesn’t mean things come to a standstill. So stay tuned for updates. We’re excited to facilitate this big undertaking and see how it grows and changes year after year.


  • April 14 – May 4: Open nominations! This is your time to share all your best choices for each category and question. Share your favorite business or place or thing. Instructions on how are below.

  • May 5 – May 26: Polls open! This is your time to vote on the nominations and help decide who or what wins each poll question. We’re working on the possibility of write in options as well.

  • June 2: Winners announced! On or around this date winners will be announced. We’re still ironing out the details of what this looks like and what sort of fancy certificates and such businesses get, but feel free to share your ideas!