ALTON – The stars filled the night as some of decades’ favorite celebrity figures made cameos to help herald the 2020 Best of the Best of Madison County and Riverbend winners, according to votes from readers of The Telegraph and the ‘Edwardsville Intelligencer, at the annual’ Best of the Best ‘event – virtually.
Unlike last year, celebrities weren’t the only ones going virtual. The Best of the Best event took place virtually and a YouTube video of the tropical themed awards ceremony is online at thetelegraph.com.
This year, Best of the Best of Madison County and Riverbend garnered over 280,000 votes, 40,000 more votes than last year.
“It’s been a year, with so many changes, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the excitement and enthusiasm of the ‘Best of’ contest,” said Carole Fredeking of Hearst Illinois, director of publicity, during of the introduction of the event. .
“This event is about you,” she said. “We value and support all of our local businesses.”
Two lucky people won three-day, two-night trips to Margaritaville at Lake of the Ozarks: Kim Reiniger, of Worden, and Tracy Sharpmack, of East Alton.
Highlights included special appearances by Don Johnson, Bo Derek and an actor portraying Robert DeNiro.
“Hey, Bob De Niro here, are you talking to me?” Huh? he said through the screen, resurrecting his “Taxi Driver” character. “No, I’m talking to you. Yeah, you, you, the one sitting there eating your frozen meal watching that, yeah you you dirty rotten bitch. Do yourself a favor, huh, get up and go get some great food and when you do, you better go to the best Italian restaurant around, Bella Milano!
“Remember that, I’m looking at you.”
A special guest, who couldn’t stay away after last year, opened and closed the salon.
“I had so much fun last year, I begged them to let me come back this year,” said Carson Kressley, who came first in 2003 in the Bravo series “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. “I see some of you in your pajamas because it’s a pandemic, I’m going to let this one slide. Enjoy the show! “
He closed the show with a hope of normalcy for next year’s Best of the Best of Madison County and the Riverbend event.
“What a good night everyone, I hope to see you again next year – in the flesh.”
Other surprise guests included actor John O’Hurley as J. Peterman from “Seinfeld,” St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, Jan Pol from “The Incredible Dr. Pol ”on Nat Geo Wild, martial arts expert Chuck Norris and actors Jamie Farr, Jackie Mason, Steve Guttenberg, Penn Jillette and Erica Lugo from“ The Biggest Loser ”.
Congratulations to everyone who received awards! And the winners are:
• Best Car Salesperson, Brent Marburger, Federico Kia
• Best Chamber Director, John Keller / RiverBend Growth Association
• Top Coach, Derek Jarman / Civic Memorial High School
• Best firefighter, Ben Hamberg / Godfrey Fire Protection District
• Best nurse, Stephanie Ponce / OSF Saint Anthony Emergency
• Best Photographer, Carrie Carpunky Photography
• Better workplace, OSF HealthCare
• Best Policeman, Jeff Shank / Bethalto
• Best Principal, Adam Miller / Trimpe Middle School
• Best teacher, Nancy Holtorf / North Elementary, Alton and Roxana Junior High School
• Best volunteer, Karen Wilson
• Better auto body repair, freer bodywork
• Best Automotive Retailer, Butler Car Wash and Express Lubricant
• Best Auto Repair, Auto Repair and Tucker Tire
• Best Car Wash, Auto Butler Car Wash and Express Lube
• Best New Car Dealer, Roberts Motors
• Better oil change, auto repair and Tucker tire
• Best tire store, St. Jacob Automotive
• Best towing / roadside assistance, Bower’s Towing
• Best Used Car Dealer, Smart Choice Auto Sales
Beauty / Relaxation:
• Best Hair Salon, Happy Hour Barber Stop
• the best day spa, Lauren Strickland at Meraki Studio
• Best eyebrow shaping, Lauren Strickland at Meraki Studio
• Best Hair Salon, Kristen’s Hair Studio
• Best hairdresser, Kristen Meyer
• Best nail salon, EXO Nail Bar
• Best Tattoo Shop, Empire Ink Studio
• Best Entertainment Place, Winery Wild Pickins
• the best golf course, Belk Park Golf Course
• Best Live Local Theater, Alton Little Theater
• Best local park, Glazebrook Park
• Best outdoor patio, Laux Brickhouse
• the best sports bar, the Roper’s Regal Beagle
• Best wedding venue, WOW event center
Food and drink:
• Best Asian Restaurant, Wang Gang
• Best barbecue, fire and smoke
• the best cookies, the Cookie Factory bakery
• Best donuts, Mister Donut
• Best Fine Dining, Gentelin on Broadway
• Best fried chicken, Castelli’s Moonlight restaurant at 255
• Best burgers, King Louie’s Drive-In
• Best Ice Cream, Shivers Ice Cream
• Best Italian restaurant, Bella Milano
• the best local coffee, Germania Brew House
• the best local desserts, Josephine’s souvenir shop and tea room
• Best local winery, Wild Pickins estate
• Best locally brewed beer, Old Bakery Beer Co.
• Best Martinis, Bossanova restaurant and lounge
• Best Mexican restaurant, El Mezcal
• Best pizza, Pizza Roma
• the best seafood, the Grafton Oyster Bar
• Best sushi, Wasabi
• Best wings, Alton Sports Tap
health and wellbeing:
• Best Cancer Care Center, OSF Moeller Cancer Center
• Best Chiropractor, Bemis Family Chiropractic
• Best Dentist, Humbert Road Dentistry
• the best gym / fitness center, Alphas Gym
• Best Health Trainer / Weight Loss Trainer, Shawn Crocker / CrossFit Edwardsville
• Top Hearing Center Professional, Hearing Associates
• Best hospital, OSF HealthCare
• Best Imaging Center, OSF Healthcare Saint Anthony Health Center
• Best local yoga studio, Riverbend Yoga
• Best Martial Arts Studio, Alton Family Martial Arts
• Best OB / GYN, Dr Joseph Talsky MD
• Best orthodontist, Haug Orthodontics
• Best Pharmacy, Alton Walgreens
• Best physiotherapist, Alton Physical Therapy
• Best Doctor, Dr Craig Harms, MD
• Best Podiatrist, Dr Kyle Wilmes, DPM
• Better urgent care, OSF Prompt Care
• Best vision center, Rose Optical
• Best Carpet Cleaner, TK Carpet Gallery Inc.
• Best Carpet / Flooring Company, TK Carpet Gallery Inc.
• Best cleaning company, anointed hand cleaning services
• Best Electrician, Bickle Electric Contracting Co.
• Better heating / cooling, Pruitt Mechanical Services
• Best home builder, construction and excavation of Gray Brothers
• Best Home Inspector, Madewell Inspections
• Best Home Improvement Company, Eagle Home Improvement
• Best Landscaper, Complete Landscaping by Jim Murphy
• Best lawn care, complete landscaping by Jim Murphy
• Best selling lawn mowers and tractors, Bertel sales and service
• Best painting company, Kaid Painting and Drywall
• Best Pest Control, Allied Pest Control Inc.
• Best plumber, inspector plumber
• Best propane company, Senger’s Gas
• Best Roofer, Ryan Construction and Roofing, LLC
• Best Waste Company, Robert Sanders Waste Systems Inc.
• Better waterproofing, Midwest basement technology
• Best Dog Trainer, Lucky Dogs Training
• Best groomer, lucky dog grooming
• Best kennel / boarding facility, Club Paws
• Best veterinarian, Bethalto Animal Clinic
• Best assisted living, Asbury Village
• Best Home Health Care, Absolute Health Care Services LLC
• Best Memory Care Community, Cedarhurst Senior Living
• Best senior center, Senior Services Plus
• Best Seniors Living Community, Asbury Village
• Best community of skilled nurses, rehabilitation and therapy Alton Memorial
• Best Animal Rescue, Five A’s
• Best auctioneer, Cody Hanold Auctioneering
• Best bank, 1st MidAmerica credit union
• Best Chamber of Commerce, RiverBend Growth Association
• Best credit union, 1st MidAmerica credit union
• Best DJ, DJ Nick
• Best Financial Advisor, Rachael Beckemeyer – Thrivent Financial
• Best funeral home, Pitchford Funeral Home
• Best Insurance Agent, Karen Wilson – State Insurance Agent
• Best Law Firm, Schrempf Kelly and Napp Ltd.
• Best local college, Lewis and Clark Community College
• Best local private school, Zion Lutheran School Bethalto
• Best Mortgage Company, City and Country / Sue Cress
• Best Non-Profit Organization, Five A’s Humane Society
• Best Real Estate Broker, Mary Beiser / Tarrant and Harman
• Best Antique Store, Alton Exchange
• Best Bridal and Formal Wear, Frew’s Bridal
• Best convenience store, Quik Trip
• Best Florist, Jeffrey’s Flowers By Design
• Best hardware store, St. Peters Hardware and Rental Inc.
• the best local appliance store, Alton Refrigeration and Home Furnishings
• Best local art fair, Jacoby Arts Center
• Best local shop, hardy roots
• Best Local Furniture Store, Pure Bliss Home Decor
• Best local grocery store, Aldi
• Best local jewelry store, Maneke Jewelers
• Best local shoe store, Cleary shoes and boots
• Best meat market, Sever’s Meat Market
• The best pawn shop Sam’s Pawn Shop