The Warren County Convention & Visitors Bureau has announced the winners of its 2020 Best of Warren County Awards.
Hosted annually by the WCCVB, the Best of Warren County Awards serve to recognize the many local shops, restaurants, events and attractions that make Warren County – known as Ohio’s Largest Playground – one of Ohio’s premier tourism destinations.
The awards, which feature 24 unique categories covering everything from dining establishments to festivals and events, began in late January with a two-week nomination phase. That initial phase garnered a record number of nominations, which were then tallied and used to name finalists across each award category. Locals and Warren County regulars were then invited to vote on those finalists to declare the winners.
This year’s awards featured two new categories – an Outstanding Innovator Award and a Carry Out & Carry On Award - specifically designed to reflect the challenging year that was 2020.
In lieu of its typical in-person award ceremony, the WCCVB announced this year’s winners through a special video presentation hosted on its web site, OhiosLargestPlayground.com. Those award winners were as follows:
Best Outdoor Adventure: Caesar Creek State Park; Best Fun on the Farm: Hidden Valley Orchards; Best Festival or Event: Country AppleFest; Best Holiday Happening: Waynesville’s Christmas in the Village; Best Family Fun: Kings Island; Best Historic Attraction: The Golden Lamb; Best Area to Shop: Downtown Lebanon; Best Antique Shop: Waynesville Antique Mall; Best Local Boutique: Hope & Grace Boutique; Best Fine Dining: The Golden Lamb; Best Breakfast Spot: The Breakfast Club; Best Lunch Spot: Broadway Barrel House; Best Burger: Black Horse Tavern at The Golden Lamb; Best Pizza Place: Two Cities Pizza Co.: Best Signature Dish: Fried Chicken at The Golden Lamb; Best International Eats: Mae Ploy’s Thai; Best Sweet Treat Stop: Whit’s Frozen Custard; Best Caffeine Kick: Lot No. 1 Coffee: Best Bar or Pub: Broadway Barrel House; Best Brewery: Warped Wing Barrel Room & Smokery; Best Date Night: Valley Vineyards; Best New Addition: Yuletide Village at Renaissance Park; Carry Out & Carry On: Greenhouse Café; and Outstanding Innovator: Ohio Renaissance Festival.
While the travel and leisure industries were hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the WCCVB felt it was still important to highlight the county’s numerous tourism-related businesses through its annual award process.
“Last year presented us all with incredible challenges, but there was still so much worth celebrating here in Ohio’s Largest Playground,” said Phillip S. Smith, WCCVB president & CEO. “These awards were not only our way of honoring the hard work so many of our local businesses put forth last year, but also a way of building excitement for what’s already shaping up to be a much more promising 2021.”
The WCCVB is a professional destination marketing and management organization committed to spurring economic growth in Warren County by increasing overnight and year-round visitors. Prior to 2020′s challenges, the county welcomed a record 12.3 million visitors in 2019, supporting nearly 12,000 jobs and driving an economic impact of more than $1.2 billion for the local community.