Feb 25, 2014 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
It was an enthusiastic battle, but when the final votes were tallied Cazenovia came in second place by seven percentage points behind Berlin, Md., in the Budget Travel “Coolest Small Town in America” contest.
Budget Travel announced the contest winner at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26.
According to the Budget Travel announcement, total votes cast were 137,819, with Berlin receiving 39,285 votes, or more than 28 percent of the votes among the 15 finalists. Cazenovia received just under 22 percent of the votes cast.
Cazenovia and Berlin were separated by only 2 percentage points for many weeks, and last week the mayors of the two towns spoke on the telephone and made a friendly wager on who would win. The prize is a growler of beer from one of the town’s local breweries — Burly Oak Brewery for Berlin and Empire Brewing Company for Cazenovia.
Once the contest winner was announced on Feb. 25, Cazenovia Mayor Kurt Wheeler sent an email to Berlin Mayor Gee Williams congratulating Berlin on its victory. Wheeler wrote:
“Congratulations to everyone in your community on your victory in the Budget Travel ‘America’s Coolest Small Town’ contest! As we noted in our telephone conversation last week — win, lose or draw, the contest has been a lot of fun and a great source of civic pride for both towns.
“On behalf of everyone here in Cazenovia, I’d like to extend our heartfelt best wishes to you and everyone in Berlin. I look forward to visiting you and seeing your beautiful community first-hand in the next few months. I’m pleased to report that not only were our friends at Empire Farmstead Brewery, which will open in the Village of Cazenovia this year, delighted to participate but the Henneberg Brewing Company, which is operating in the Town of Cazenovia, also contacted me to join the challenge. I’ll be pleased to bring you samples from both of our local craft brewers! I’ll reach out to the other two elements of our local ‘beverage trail’ (The Harvest Moon Cidery at Critz Farms and the Owera Vineyard) and perhaps we can end up having a real celebration! I look forward to drinking a toast to a bright future for both of our ‘cool small towns.’
“Congratulations again on Berlin’s victory — Best wishes, Kurt Kurt Wheeler, Village of Cazenovia, NY Mayor”
Williams responded a few hours later:
“Thank you for your very gracious message of congratulations. It has been a truly uplifting experience that we both have been able to share watching our communities, and many friends from beyond our borders, express their pride and support through the ‘America’s Coolest Small Town’ contest. I believe we also are both very grateful to have the honor and privilege of serving our very special communities.
“I trust that through this friendly competition, folks throughout our nation are reminded each year that there are so many ‘cool towns’ in America that are generous, caring and in the best sense of the word, properly proud of their hometowns.
“I am looking forward to visiting the Village of Cazenovia, NY, in the near future, but to be very candid, I am pretty certain it will be during one of the warm weather months of the year. Everything we have learned about your community sounds like it is a delightful and welcoming place to live or visit.
“I also am looking forward to taking you up on your offer to share a taste or two of your local craft brews during your visit to Berlin. In the meantime, please extend a sincere hand of friendship to the citizens of Cazenovia from your newly found friends in Maryland.
“Best wishes and take care.
Gee Williams, Mayor
Town of Berlin”
In a field of nearly 500 nominations and thousands of votes from across the U.S., Cazenovia was named one of only 15 finalists in the Budget Travel 2014 Coolest Small Towns in America contest in January. Cazenovia is not only the only town in New York state to make it as a finalist, it is also the only town in the Northeastern U.S.
After one month of daily voting, Budget Travel announced the top 10 vote getters of the contest and the winning town. The 10 towns with the most votes in the contest were (in order of finish): Berlin, Md.; Cazenovia; Buckhannon, W.V.; Travelers Rest, S.C.; Mathews, Va.; Nevada City, Calif.; Rockport, Texas; Estes Park, Colo.; Galena, Ill. and Elkin, N.C. Each of these 10 towns will be honored in an upcoming feature on BudgetTravel.com and an upcoming story in Budget Travel’s tablet edition, according to an article on Budgettravel.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.