It’s time to play favorites again in Lincoln County

Published 2:00 pm Saturday, July 1, 2023

Admit it: You play favorites. We all do.

Whether it’s that favorite old t-shirt that you just can’t part with or the favorite movie that streams when nothing else will do, you know what you like.

And we’re counting on that again this year.

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This week, we launched the online nomination portal for the 2023 Best of Southwest Mississippi contest.

This wildly popular, reader-driven annual contest recognizes the best of in our community – from dog groomers to bartenders, coaches to bankers, favorite po-boys to best sweet tea to best chicken tenders. (And yes, that’s a hotly contested category.)

The concept is quite simple: Using the online contest portal, readers throughout the Brookhaven, Lincoln County and our surrounding areas (or who have connections to Southwest Mississippi) can make nominations in more than 150 categories that highlight automotive sales and service, food and drink, shopping and retail, professionals, professional services, home and garden services, weddings, pets and more.

Those nominations are tallied and the top three nominees in each category will advance to the voting round.

Once voting opens, you have the opportunity to vote for your favorites in each and every one of those categories. At the end, we tally all those votes and the winners are recognized at a reception and in the September/October edition of Brookhaven Magazine. We’ll also recognize and honor the winners in a reception co-sponsored by Sam Sones and Lincoln County Farm Bureau.

And if you wonder just how important your one vote or nomination can be, consider this:

Last year we received more than 17,200 nominations. That’s a lot of opinions about gumbo, cold beer, best kept secrets and more.

Then, in the voting ground, more than 83,000 votes were cast in a matter of a couple of weeks. We watched some serious competition develop as local business owners encouraged patrons and customers to cast votes, as well.

In the end, we saw hundreds of smiling faces and proud winners – and yes, some disappointed runners-up who are rallying this year in hopes of claiming the title of the “Best of Southwest Mississippi.”

As we’ve said, we know you have favorites. So please take a few minutes to share those with us in the form of nominations at

The nomination portal is open until July 15.

I’m hoping we top 25,000 nominations in 2023, since we’ve added some new categories and brought back some old favorites.

We’ll tally those nominations and open the voting portal on August 1. Stay tuned to The Daily Leader online and our social media channels for details of those dates.

And remember, this is one time when it’s encouraged to play favorites.

Stacy G. Graning is general manager of The Daily Leader. Contact her at