Best of River Valley

The Best of River Valley Awards Gala

We are excited to bring you our third edition of the Best of River Valley Awards Magazine. This year, the 2023 Best of River Valley contest had over 377,000 votes cast. This is a 382% increase year-over-year! We increased our categories up to 224 different options which resulted in 672 awards, plus 543 of those were presented to unique winners!

With our large contest area ranging from Sallisaw to Russellville, and from Mountainburg to Waldron, to be named in the top three in any category is an accomplishment. Our goal is to create economic lift and overall promotion of the River Valley, while engaging the community in celebrating the places, restaurants and local businesses that make our area unique. We highlight efforts to discover and celebrate the businesses, people and places we love most, as voted by our local community: You. Our news staff reports on stories in River Valley communities from Fort Smith to Clarksville, and everything in between. We understand that focusing on local news and events is what matters most to our readers.

Our sports department covers River Valley prep sports from preseason to playoffs, with game stories, previews and features in our weekly Prep Rally – River Valley Report with Leland Barclay.

In August, we also had our third annual River Valley Media Day event in Fort Smith at the River Valley Fellowship of Christian Athletes Office, which provided the opportunity to celebrate the River Valley’s top coaches and players, and to say thank you for their efforts. These videos and photos were added to our River Valley Report Football Preview which was distributed across the River Valley inside the River Valley Democrat-Gazette and in the digital replica app so that everyone could enjoy them. Additionally in August, the River Valley Democrat-Gazette was the presenting sponsor of the Fort Smith International Film Festival, our What’s Up! Arts & Entertainment Guide was the official program for the festival, and our Best of River Valley was the awards sponsor with our very own award given to local filmmakers for their submitted film. The program and other stories about the film festival are available in the River Valley Democrat-Gazette digital replica app which is available to non-subscribers as well as River Valley Democrat-Gazette Sunday print subscribers.

You can also find additional publications in the River Valley, including our lifestyle magazine Ozark Living, which is available at over 100 locations and is powered by local home service businesses, local real estate agencies and agents; La Prensa Libre, which is devoted to our growing Hispanic community; and the Official Kids Mag, which tells the stories of local kid heroes and provides a resource for teachers and parents alike.

This has been a year of expansion for our core product – the River Valley Democrat-Gazette. We have added classifieds, obits and public notices. We also continue to offer daily local journalism and photojournalism by way of our digital replica app. Our readership, both in Sunday print and online, has also steadily increased.

Accurate local journalism is important to every community. We cannot accomplish great things without your support of our local journalists. We encourage you to show your support by subscribing to the River Valley Democrat-Gazette so that we may continue to grow our area of reporting to include more River Valley communities.

Producing a contest this size took a dedicated local team and committed businesses. To our sponsors, marketing partners and readers, and especially the folks who took the time to vote, we would like to thank you for making the Best of River Valley possible.

Brent A. Powers

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Best of River Valley Recap

Thank You Best of River Valley 2023

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