Nominations, please

Have you logged on to and made your nominations in the 2017 FestivalSouth and Signature Magazine’s Best of the Pine Belt competition?

If not, you’re already behind. Nominations in all categories were opened Jan. 14 and run until Feb. 15 in the first round. Finalist voting be- gins March 1 and continues through April 30.

Once again, several key categories will be selected to be featured at the Best of the Pine Belt Awards Show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Saenger Theater. Those categories are selected from the nomination and finals voting process. Voting begins May 1 and runs through May 15 in these select areas. All voting takes place at the official festival website,

Last year, more than 634,000 votes created a guide to the Pine Belt’s favorite people, places and things that make the area great. Once again, the complete list of “best” will be featured in the festival program that encompasses the June edition of Signature Magazine. This publication is made available at the conclusion of the awards show and then across the city in an extended circulation.

The Best of the Pine Belt Awards Show is a gala, red-carpet evening that is one of the highlights of FestivalSouth. Featuring special guests, awards presentations, live music and more, it is one of the hottest tickets of the festival.

“It’s a time for our area’s favorites to get dressed up and celebrate all the wonderful things that make the Pine Belt great,” said David Gustafson, publisher of Signature Magazine.

To nominate your favorites, simply log on to and click on the Best of the Pine Belt. There, choose a category and write in nominations for as many categories as you like. Only one vote per IP address will be counted, so business and individuals that want to win will have to work hard to encourage their fans to vote for them. To assist in that effort, free downloadable posters are available on the website.

Materials are available online at to solicit votes in this nomination process. Click on the Best of the Pine Belt and download logos, signs and more.

This year’s categories are:

Fine Arts

Best Sculptor

Best Painter

Best Niche Artist

Best Local Photographer

Best Local Author

Best Local Stage Production



Best Solo Artist

Best Duo/Group

Best Live Musical Act

Best Local Guitarist

Best Tribute Artist/Cover Band

Best New/Emerging Artist

Song of the Year (Songwriter award)

Album of the Year

Best Live Music Venue

Best Place to Karaoke

Best Local Radio Deejay

Best Local Radio Station

Best Local Music Festival


Best Mover & Shaker

Best Volunteer

Most-effective Non-Profit

Best Local Comedian

Most-effective Elected Official

Best Unsung Hero

Best Behind-the-Scenester

Best Local Pastor

Best Local TV Personality

Best Hattiesburg Personality

Best Local Instagram Account

Best Burlesque Performer


Outdoors & Recreation

Best Annual Event

Best Place to Exercise 

Best Place to Play Golf

Best Family Outing

Best Water-Based Attraction



Best Auto Repair Shop

Best Hair Salon

Best Dry Cleaner

Best Garden Center

Best Hotel

Best Florist

Best Hospital/Medical Center

Best Medical Clinic (any specialty)

Best Mani/Pedi

Best Pet Groomer

Best Spa

Best Tattoo Artist

Best Senior Living Center

Best Attorney

Best Bank

Best Insurance Agent

Best Financial Advisor

Best Veterinarian

Best Local Realtor

Best Car Salesperson

Best Business We Wish Were Still Open



Best Car Dealership

Best Women’s Clothing

Best Men’s Clothing

Best Kids’ Clothing

Best Computer Store

Best Drugstore

Best Furniture Store

Best Liquor Store

Best Bookstore

Best Hardware Store

Best Shoe Store

Best Vintage/Antiques

Best Jewelry Store

Best Gift Shop

Best Gift Registry

Best Unique Find


Best Bartender

Best Bar Ambience

Best Beer Selection

Best Happy Hour

Best Dive Bar

Best Late Night Menu

Best Service/Waitstaff

Best Local Chef

Best Barista

Best Brunch

Best Buffet

Best Barbecue

Best Vegetarian

Best Mexican

Best Chinese 

Best Ethnic (Other)

Best Full-Service Bakery

Best Bread

Best Grocery

Best SnoCone Stand

Best Cheap Date

Best Intimate Dining

Best Place to Cure a Hangover

Best Place To Take a First Date

Best Restaurant to Take Kids

Best Restaurant to Take Parents

Best Event Space

Best New Restaurant

Best Restaurant Overall

Best Restaurant We Wish Were Still Open


Best Specific Food/Drink

Best Appetizer

Best Barbeque

Best Hamburger 

Best Steak 

Best Pizza 

Best Comfort Food 

Best Hot Dog 

Best Chips and Salsa 

Best Soup 

Best Salad/Dressing

Best Seafood Dish 

Best Sushi 

Best Breakfast

Best Sandwich

Best Dessert 

Best Ice Cream/Frozen Treat

Best Coffee 

Best Cocktail