2023 Best of the River Valley

WINNERS: Download your ‘Voted 2023 Best Of’ ribbon burst seal HERE.

Valley Sentinel is excited to announce our 3rd annual Best of the River Valley reader poll!

Again, 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. 

As with last year, 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.

The poll results will be on stands during the Spring Green Arts & Crafts Fair and for the season opening of American Players Theatre.

The Best of the River Valley is not only a complement to existing guides that help community and newcomers alike navigate our area, but also — especially now more than ever — 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.

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 2022 to May 2023. Nominations will generally be limited to 15 miles around the Spring Green area — Arena, Lone Rock, Plain and Spring Green — unless stated as regional. The poll 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. 

As always, 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.

We’re looking for cover art for the section as well as a theme — what has this last year meant to you? Has there been a word or phrase that stuck with you that you believe represents the area the past year? Let us know.

This year we hope to showcase our “three-peat” winners who have won all three years of the poll.

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

The Best of the River Valley is an extension of our passion to build community and, in its third year running, is one of many ideas that we hope will become a part of what makes our community so great.

We’re excited to again facilitate this big undertaking and see how it grows and changes year after year.

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2023 Best of the River Valley Timeline



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  • Nominations – CLOSED
    May 4 – May 14

    This is your time to share all your best choices for each category and question to create a list to vote on. Share your favorite business or place or thing.

  • Poll Open
    May 18 – June 1

    This is your time to vote on the nominations and help decide who or what wins each poll question.

    You may fill in “other” options in the poll, popular write-in options may get added to the poll.

  • Winners Announced
    June 15

    On or around this date winners will be announced in Valley Sentinel,
    followed shortly by an online announcement. For this
    year again we’ll probably still limit awards and such to
    some fancy certifi cates for public posting, but in future
    years perhaps a recognition banquet or mixer can be
    in the works?


1.) This reader poll encompasses June 2022 – May 2023, use those dates to make your choices. If a business closed or opened in that timeframe they are eligible as well.

2.) In general, unless stated as a regional question or it would otherwise be over-limiting, nominations are limited to a 15 mile radius of the Spring Green area. If regional or over-limited, feel free to nominate within Sauk, Richland and Iowa counties. Exceptions may be made where there are strong ties to the Valley.

3.) You do not need to fill out each category/question. Filling out the entire poll will take around 10 minutes. Feel free to fill in answers under “other” — popular answers may be added to the poll as options.

YOU MAY ONLY VOTE ONCE. We will identify and eliminate fraudulent votes. Your vote will remain anonymous.

5.) More information and tools like posters, graphics and table tents will be available for businesses and those interested to share the poll and get out the word and drum up support for their favorites below. But no funny business! Literally. Exchanging free or discounted goods and services for votes is prohibited. Discounted ads are available to help get out the vote.

6.) Full details and rules will be on the poll. Have any questions? Want to report errors/issues? Want something added or removed? Email us at:

Want an ad encouraging your customers to vote?

‘Best Of’ ads are 50% off the regular rate for our standard ad sizes when ran May 18 in Valley Sentinel. See our regular advertising options here. Email for more information:

Bundle opportunities closed, but social media and online ad options are still available.

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