By: Mike Tumbarello

Having just held the 2019 People’s Choice Challenge Celebration party where we announced the winners in each of 40 categories, I thought it important to reflect on the awards, why they are important to the community and what they mean to Sarah and I.

The categories themselves are key, as they reflect the diversity and the greatness of this wonderful four-season lake-area.  Whether great products or services provided by our small businesses and non-profits, experiences available to all in this mountain wonderland or recognition for the service providers that support locals and visitors alike, they all help comprise and reinforce the winning mosaic that is the Deep Creek Lake area.

Garrett County has a population of less than 30,000 individuals and has under 1,000 businesses.  Compared to Baltimore County, for example, with its 700,000 plus population and 20,000 plus businesses, we are tiny, if not in size, in commerce. Yet, our small population, over one million annual visitors, strong not-for-profit ecosystem when combined with our natural beauty and small-town charm, make for a truly special place.

The People’s Choice Challenge is our way of showcasing and celebrating all that is great about this area, from the people, small businesses and support services to the wonderful natural wonders available.  Sarah and I, when we came up with this idea, wanted to acknowledge and encourage dialog about what makes this area so wonderful to live or visit.  The sum is certainly greater than all of the parts combined in the case of the Deep Creek Lake area.

Please take a minute to review the nominees and winners in the guide below and think about how you can continue to support them, whether by hiking that trail, making a donation or visiting that establishment.  Enjoy the guide, feel free to save and circulate, congratulate the winners, visit all of the nominees and winners and don’t forget to tell them Deep Creek Times sent you! Finally, we thank all of the thousands of locals and “friends of the lake” that nominated and voted over the past few months.

Thank you for being engaged and caring.

View the GUIDE here.