Mid-January is one of my favorite times of the year. The NFL playoffs are just getting started, and my San Francisco 49ers don’t stink this year, which is a plus. The weather is starting to heat up to the perfect temperature in which I can shed the large, bulky jackets but keep wearing the warm cozy sweaters. The New Year glow and optimism that infects everyone at the beginning of the year is still hanging around. And the voting for this year’s Best of the Pajaro Valley is finally open.

For those that might not know, the Best of the Pajaro Valley is your chance to name the best businesses, events and people of 2019. Have a favorite brewery? Let us know. Was there a local event that you enjoyed more than the rest? Show it some love. Is there a landscaping company that did amazing work last year? Sign their name on the dotted line. The ballot will run in every Pajaronian this month and voting will be open until Jan. 31. Online voting is also open at pajaronian.com/best-of-pajaro-valley-2019.

Every year we like to carry a theme for our Best of Pajaro Valley, and this year is no different. It’s the end of an era and the start of another. As the Star Wars franchise closes out its new trilogy with “Rise of Skywalker,” Watsonville is seeing a new, young wave of business owners and local leaders. Our theme for this year, Best of the Pajaro Valley: Rise of the Millennial, showcases that slow but steady changing of the guard currently ongoing in our youth-heavy city. As such, this year our top award, Favorite Local Millennial, is our way of ushering in the young leaders—ages 24-40—that will be fixtures in this community for the foreseeable future. 

I’m sure you can think of dozens of Millennials that mean the world to you, but I’m asking you to think outside of your bubble. Is there a Millennial in local politics that is fighting for the community in the right way for the right reasons? There might be another young person in the private or public sector that is creating a new standard around the Pajaro Valley and beyond. This is your chance to highlight their efforts, and get their name into the public’s conscious.

Also, all of your favorite categories are back, such as best burger, auto repair shop, barbershop and winery. And we’ve added a few more to reflect our city’s ever-changing market. New categories include best seafood, food truck, taco, sushi and ice cream. Two fun ones that align with this year’s theme: favorite selfie spot and favorite WIFI hangout. 

I want to emphasize this: these are not The Pajaronian’s awards, they are yours. Tell us who is the best of the best, and we’ll celebrate them for the rest of the year.

Contact Pajaronian Managing Editor Tony Nuñez at [email protected]

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