As a staff, we anticipate this publication all year.
We sit in meetings making lists of categories before we can even start thinking about our Christmas lists.
From the minute voting begins, we're setting up spreadsheets trying to figure out how to count the votes as efficiently as possible. And then we wait with bated breath for the results to come pouring in.
And pour in they did.
Last year, we were amazed that our ballots tripled more than our 2009 total, leaping from 14,000 to 44,000 in one year. This year, the contest has only grown in popularity.
For "Best Of 2011" we received 59,369 ballots.
So where did all those votes go?
We noticed a shift in your voting priorities this year to health-related categories. "Best Trainer" has grown significantly in popularity.
"Best Dentist" and "Best Orthodontist" have always been really big categories to begin with, but "orthodontist" had just shy of 10,000 votes this year, with 9,722.
"Best Real Estate Agent/Agency" raked in 9,647 votes, perhaps a telling sign of today's housing market. Buying a home has always been a marathon of a task, but with prices so low the increased competition from cash investors can make it nearly impossible to get in on this exciting time to buy without a good real estate agent by your side.
"Best Pet Services" received about 4,500 votes, proving yet again how dedicated the people of this community are to the well-being of their four-legged friends.
On the restaurant front, "Best Waiter/Waitress/Bartender" was huge his year. "Best Asian Food" received a lot more votes than some of the other food categories, but was followed closely by "Best Wings."
It's also interesting to look at when the votes came in, giving another insight into the Ahwatukee Foothills community.
Nov. 30 was the highest voting day, with 3,268 votes in one day. Not surprisingly, Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 24) was the slowest day, with only 1,412 votes. On average, we received about 2,430 votes per day.
So, there you have it, an emphasis on health, pets, and taking a break from voting to spend time with family. That pretty much sums up Ahwatukee to us.
And, considering how exponentially this contest seems to grow every year, we better start thinking about how we're going to handle "Best Of 2012!"
- AFN staff