Best Of 2017

Best Use of Rainbow Paint
Photo by Monivette Cordeiro

Lake Eola bandshell

512 E. Washington St.

We've seen a lot of rainbows in Orlando in honor of the 49 people who were killed at the gay nightclub Pulse last year. Some, like the ribbons made by Ben Johansen, are small, while others, like the 49 rainbow birds mural in Mills 50 by Andrew Spear, are much larger. But our favorite rendition of this LGBTQ symbol so far has been the one painted on Orlando's traditional gathering place – the Lake Eola bandshell. Local residents Deborah and Lauren Jane Gilmore, who proposed the idea, have stated that each color has a meaning: red to represent love; orange to represent Orange County; yellow for faith and hope; green for the fragility and renewal of life; blue to represent the collective sadness felt after Pulse and to honor first responders; and purple to represent valor and bravery. This remembrance is a colorful reminder that despite the darkness after Pulse, hope and light has endured.

Local Color: The best in local media, radio shows, Instagram feeds, activists and more

Local Color

The best in local media, radio shows, Instagram feeds, activists and more.

Best, Biggest, Blondest Hole in Our Hearts
Photo by Rob Bartlett

Billy Manes

May 22, 1972–July 21, 2017

The loss of Orlando Weekly's longest-term writer and foundational voice is devastating not just to his friends and family, not just to his colleagues, but to all of Orlando. Our bereavement is nothing compared to the loss of potential that his departure from this mortal plane represents – but we take some comfort in knowing that his husband, Tony Mauss, has launched the Billy Manes Foundation, which will work to fund various literary and advocacy issues. And, per Billy's request, Mauss will also finish the memoir Billy started but didn't have time to finish. Rest in power, Citizen Manes.

Best Kept Secret

1. Wekiva Island,

2. Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour,

3. Sanford

Best Local Activist Group

1. One Orlando Alliance,

2. Zebra Coalition,

3. Food Not Bombs,

1. John Morgan

2. Mayor Buddy Dyer

3. Johnny Magic

Best Local Charitable Group

1. Second Harvest Food Bank,

2. Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando,

3. Give Kids the World,

Best Local Podcast

1. "A Mediocre Time With Tom & Dan,"

2. "Scotch and Good Conversation,"

3. "BYOCB,"

Best Local Politician

1. Mayor Buddy Dyer

2. Commissioner Patty Sheehan

3. U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy

Best Local Print Columnist

1. Scott Maxwell
Note: Scott Maxwell sent us a dedication request this morning: "Jessica, I’m honored by the voters' support. But this is Billy Manes’ award this year. So I’d like to very respectfully decline – and thank Billy for all he did to make us laugh and cry and think." He's a class act, that Maxwell.

No. 1 in our hearts: Billy Manes

3. Mike Bianchi