Publisher's column: Annual ‘Best of the Lakes Area Readers’ Choice’ nominations will open on May 15

The project allows community members to submit their nominations for their favorite area things including everything from burgers, to drinks to service workers.

Devlyn Brooks.png
Devlyn Brooks is the new publisher for the Wadena Pioneer Journal, Perham Focus and Detroit Lakes Tribune.
Vicki Gerdes / Forum News Service

DETROIT LAKES — Start the countdown DL!

We are only a mere 12 days away from when nominations for the “Best of the Lakes Area Readers’ Choice” awards will open! … Who’s excited?!

The “Best of” magazine is one of our favorite projects each year, and it is an annual success because of your participation. Thank you!

If you need a little refresher, the project allows community members to submit their nominations for their favorite area things including everything from burgers, to drinks to service workers. It’s a very intensive project that generates a lot of community excitement when the results are published in a special magazine in late summer.

For instance, last year’s magazine wound up being 60-plus pages containing the winners and runners-up in the annual contest that asks you to vote in categories including restaurants, financial services, home improvement businesses and so much more!


best of 2023 badge-page-001.jpg
The Reader's Choice Awards start May 15.
Tribune Graphic

We started our annual “Best of” contest in Detroit Lakes in 2018. So we’re five years in looking to pull off the best “Best of” yet!

The process begins each year with our team selecting the content categories that the community will vote on, and then we solicit nominations in each of those categories.

Next, we ask readers to vote for their favorites in more than 120 categories, eventually tabulating the results to arrive at a top vote-getter and a runner-up in each category. The process is detailed and very thorough!

We are proud of how popular our “Best of” contest has become!

Last year, 4,245 businesses and/or individuals were initially nominated in our contest categories. And nearly 3,900 people cast 83,127 votes before we concluded the voting. That level of participation is stunning!

In addition to announcing the winners, the “Best of” magazine also includes a biography, and often a photo, of the top vote-getters, as well as naming the runner-up in each category.

The magazine is packed with content, as well as dozens of beautiful advertisements in which individuals and businesses celebrate their achievements! It is one awesome read!

Before the nomination process even begins, I want to thank both our readers and the businesses who support this project, because without both a project this large would never be possible.


Our readers demonstrate their passion for this community by nominating thousands of potential individuals and businesses for the favorites, and then those same readers cast tens of thousands of votes to see their favorites win. We cannot complete this work without your participation! Thank you!

And I would be remiss without adding a big shout out to the advertisers who make this contest and magazine possible. Without your support, we would not be able to host a contest such as this each year. Our team is grateful for your continued support of such a popular publication!

Get ready. DL!

The nominations begin in just 12 days!

(Devlyn Brooks is the publisher of the Detroit Lakes Tribune, Perham Focus and Wadena Pioneer Journal, and their associated websites. He can be reached at or at 218-844-1451)

Devlyn Brooks is an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and serves Faith Lutheran Church in Wolverton, Minn. He also works for Forum Communications Co. He can be reached at for comments and story ideas.
What To Read Next
Get Local