The eighth annual People’s Choice of the Best in Knox County culminated May 19 in a festive fundraiser and celebration held at the Samoset Resort in Rockport.

Full parking lots attested to the fact that the Best of the Best is indeed a people’s event, with folks drawn from Lincolnville to Waldoboro to enjoy good company, recognize thriving business, and most importantly, to raise funds for the federation of 50 organizations that are unified by United Mid-Coast Charities.

The Best of the Best invites the public to vote on their favored businesses and services. The balloting process takes a few months, and the competition can be fierce. That is a testament to a local economy that strongly supports enterprise, and an indicator that despite a great recession, the Midcoast has many, many savvy entrepreneurs finding their own successful niches.

This year’s Best of the Best celebration was undeniably successful with attendees streaming in soon after 5 p.m., bidding on an abundance of silent auction items, and enjoying each other’s company. The displays of the winners were phenomenal, and the food, of course, was delicious.

As UMCC President Rusty Brace said: “It has been a long winter, which always brings on stress. The economic climate here and elsewhere has caused hardship for many families. We at UMCC are determined to ease those stresses.”

Money raised at the Best of the Best goes directly to the people of “our community,” he said. “Just look at that word ‘community.’ The last five letters spell unity. We work to make sure that communities and families stay together, and work together. We look at a community and see unity when the kids are playing together, we see unity when the community gets together for town meeting; there’s unity when a family prepares the evening meal together; unity is found when friends gather in camaraderie around a wood stove.”

Rusty is right: we all need to work to ensure that the unity remains in our local community. That is our strength, and it was well evidenced in the ballrooms of the Samoset on May 19. Congratulations to all for an outstanding community event.