110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Parade magazine searches for best downtown
posted Jun 30, 2014 - 3:57:54pm
UPDATE Tuesday, July 1: In Parade magazine's online contest to find the nation's best Main Street, DeLand fell to Collierville, Tennessee, in a hard-fought 24-hour battle against a town with about twice DeLand's population.
The final tally at midnight June 30 showed DeLand behind its Tennessee competitor by about 2 percent.
Remaining in the running at parade.com/mainstreet are the four finalists: Collierville, Ellicott City, Maryland, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and McMinnville, Oregon.
REPORTED EARLIER: DeLand's Downtown is in a tough contest to find the nation's best Main Street, and city leaders are calling for you to cast your vote — early and often — at parade.com/mainstreet.
The system allows a person to vote once per day per device: desktop computer, laptop, cell phone, etc.
The contest, being conducted online by Parade magazine, started June 28 with 16 cities that had been chosen as finalists based on readers' nominations.
DeLand handily beat Corinth, Mississippi, in the first round of voting Sunday, to become one of eight finalists.
Today's race, however, is tighter between DeLand and Collierville, Tennessee, which has nearly twice DeLand's population. Just before 4 p.m., with eight hours of voting remaining, DeLand had 56.95 percent to Collierville's 43.05 percent.
If DeLand prevails by midnight tonight, our town will be in the semifinal round Tuesday, July 1, and in the running to progress to the final round Wednesday, July 2.
The winner will be featured in Parade magazine contest organizers said. Parade is nationally distributed as a newspaper insert, usually in Sunday newspapers.
"It's great publicity. We're going to have a cover story in Parade magazine nationwide? We can't buy that kind of publicity," said Wayne Carter, executive director of the MainStreet DeLand Association.
Carter said a win for DeLand could also help bring jobs to the city.
"The city, when they're recruiting businesses, people ask: What's your Downtown like? We can tell them," Carter said.
In today's races are:
• Ellicott City, Maryland, vs. Rockland, Maine, with Ellicott City in the lead by 11 percent;
• Holland, Michigan, vs. Siloam Springs, Arkansas, with Holland ahead by nearly 5 percent;
• McMinnville, Oregon, vs. Georgetown, Texas, with McMinnville leading by 5 percent.
Most of the cities still in the running are larger than DeLand. Exceptions are Rockland, with just 7,000 residents, and Siloam Springs, with a population of about 15,000.
DeLand's population is 27,447, but its status as the county seat, its popular restaurants, nightspots and events — along with its identity as the home of Stetson University — give DeLand many more friends and fans.
Also, DeLand has experience winning online popularity contests. The Orlando Sentinel's "Other Best Downtown" poll in 2013 saw DeLand beat out larger and traditionally better-known Central Florida towns like Winter Park and Lake Mary.
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