Best Of 2019

Best Local Tragedy

Demolition of the Orchid Garden and the Ballroom at Church Street

225 S. Garland Ave.

There are precious few event spaces in Orlando that aren't hotel ballrooms, and even fewer with the architectural interest and charm found at the Orchid Garden & Ballroom. (We're biased; we've held our Bite Night and United We Brunch events there for years.) The wrought-iron filigree of the Orchid Garden and the grand stained-glass windows of the Ballroom belie their actual age – Bob Snow opened the venues in the '80s using architectural salvage from all over the world, not in the 1880s, as you might imagine from their vintage looks. In May, it was announced that both event spaces would close as of Nov. 3, and the Ballroom would be demolished this coming winter to make way for the second tower of SunTrust Plaza at Church Street Station. Neither of the spaces is eligible for historic preservation, so we just have to sit back and watch as the concrete rises.

Local Color: Best of Orlando 2019: The best in local media, radio shows, Instagram feeds, activists and more

Local Color: Best of Orlando 2019

Photo illustration by Adam McCabe

Local Color

Best Local Politician

1. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer

2. State Rep. Anna Eskamani, District 47

3. Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, District 4

Best Local Big Shot Who's Not an Elected Official

1. John Morgan

2. Scott Maxwell


Best Local Charitable Group

1. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida,

2. Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando,

3. Pet Rescue by Judy,

Best Local Activist Group

1. Zebra Coalition,

2. League of Women Voters of Orange County,

3. Equality Florida,

Best Local Radio Show

1. "Johnny's House" – WXXL 106.7-FM

2. "Monsters in the Morning" – WTKS 104.1-FM

3. "The Jim Colbert Show" – WTKS 104.1-FM

Best Local Radio Station

1. WTKS 104.1-FM

2. WXXL 106.7-FM

3. WMFE 90.7-FM

Best Local TV Newsperson

1. Martha Sugalski, WFTV

2. Jorge Estevez, WFTV

3. Amy Kaufeldt, WOFL

Best Local Podcast

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

2. "Full Frontal Nerdity Show,"

3. "Scotch and Good Conversation,"

Best Local Publication

1. Orlando Weekly

2. Orlando Sentinel

3. Bungalower "zine"