FestivalSouth and Signature Magazine’s Best of the Pine Belt competition returns with a new schedule and some new categories to help recognize the area’s best and brightest. Nominations begin at 3 p.m. Monday, Jan 14. And they run for three weeks until the evening of Sunday, Feb. 3.
To nominate your favorites, simply visit www.festivalsouth.org and click on the Best of the Pine Belt. There, follow the link to choose a category and nominate your favorites.
For the third year, Signature Magazine inducted four new members into the Best of the Pine Belt Hall of Fame. Inductions were made during a dinner at 206 Front and sponsored by First Bank, prior to the Best of the Pine Belt Awards Show at the Saenger Theater.
Eight years ago, Signature Magazine instituted the Best of the Pine Belt Awards, designed to showcase the Who’s Who of the Pine Belt’s businesses, personalities, cuisine and charitable organizations. That was followed four years later by the Best of the Pine Belt Awards Show, where the awards were given to spotlight the people, places and businesses that make the area unique.
Best Unsung Hero
Andrea Saffle • Kathy Garner
Dr. LB Bell • Sarah Newton
Best Local Instagrammer
Alex May (@mindful_yet_mindless)
Smellin Keller Moreno (@smellin_keller) • Tyner Sullivan (@mr_todd_tomorrow)
Bridget Prater Smith (@blendingbybetty) • Larran Ulmer (@ripeweb)
Best Musical Group
Pine Belt Pickers
The Best of the Pine Belt Awards show kicks off a summer of excitement at 7:30 p.m. June 2 at the Saenger Theatre.
Each year, the competition has grown and this night of fun reveals the area’s top choices after months of online voting. It also is the official release of the June edition of Signature Magazine, highlighting the winners and the official program for Hattiesburg’s premiere cultural arts event, FestivalSouth.
Best Auto Dealership
RUNNERS UP: Ryan Chevrolet • Toyota of Hattiesburg • Vardaman Honda
Best Women's Clothing
RUNNERS UP: Fly Boutique • Material Girls • The Abbey
Best Men's Clothing
Randy Price & Co.
RUNNERS UP: John White, Ltd. • Go Young Fashion (Downtown) • Go Young Fashion (40th Ave)
Best Kids Clothing
One of the highlights each year at FestivalSouth is the art created specifically for the annual event.
Hattiesburg artist Amy Giust, who is best known for her abstracts, has been a part of the festival since its inception, creating a collection of artwork.
Giust was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and studied art at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and then again later at the University of SouthernMississippi in Hattiesburg.
Voting is now closed for the 2017 "Best of the Pine Belt" competition. After receiving more than 63,000 nominations during the month-long nomination period, finalists were chose in each category. And after nearly two months of voting, more than a half a million votes have been cast.
One of the highlights each year at FestivalSouth is the art created specifically for the annual event. Since its inception, Mississippi sculptor Ben Watts has provided seven sculptures to the festival. However, due to his workload, this year Watts is passing the torch to a previous FestivalArtist, Jeremy Thomley. His sculpture for FestivalSouth’s eighth season is titled “Muse.”