Drum roll please! We’d like to tip our cap to the 600+ winners of the second annual Chronogrammies Readers’ Choice Awards! We had 20,000 people participate, nominating more than 3,000 Hudson Valley businesses. In the final round, a whopping 140,000 votes were cast to determine the 2021 Chronogrammies winners.
The arrival of summer’s indelible magic, combined with some semblance of return to “normal life,” is buoying spirits across the region, striking a very different tone for this announcement than last year, when we proclaimed the winners amid a still-uncertain landscape. It will be another year before we are able to do the grand winners’ gala that we had originally envisioned, but for now, we’re content just to see each other’s faces (mostly) unmasked.
This year, we more than doubled the number of categories in order to recognize a broader swath of Hudson Valley professionals, creatives, and community organizers. We are especially excited about the introduction of the “people” category, where community members nominated exceptional individuals in the realms of art, advocacy, politics, radio, writing, and more.
Much like the businesses that survived COVID, we could not have done these readers’ choice awards without support from all of you, so a big thank you. The pandemic was an emotional, psychological, and financial stress on individuals, families, and businesses around the world. But it was not all bad: we also saw grassroots mutual aid groups spring up, donations to food pantries surged even as demand skyrocketed, and in 2020, Americans gave a record $471 billion to charity. Food Justice Organization winners People’s Place served 1,156,502 free meals last year. Yes, you read that right—one local food pantry served over one million meals.
But we lost many cherished community members—to COVID and otherwise. Most recently, the region’s booming craft beverage industry lost two of its titans—Gable Erenzo, founder of Gardiner Liquid Mercantile and son of Tuthilltown Spirits pioneer Ralph Erenzo; and Tommy Keegan of Keegan Ales, Midtown Kingston’s ahead-of-the-curve maverick brewer and avid community supporter. We’ll be pouring one out for each of them, and for all the loved ones we lost this year.
Thank you again to everyone that participated, and a heartfelt congratulations to the winners.