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Walker is in Top 5 for Best MN Town: by Gail DeBoer of the Pilot Independent

Walker is in Top 5 for Best MN Town



by Gail DeBoer

Staff writer

Walker is one of five finalists in Minnesota Monthly magazine’s inaugural “Best MN Town” contest.

The contest, which began last summer, was aimed at finding the town that “best embodies the spirit of Minnesota.”

The Leech Lake Area Chamber of Commerce submitted Walker’s entry, one of 30 cities and town that entered the contest.

After the first cut, the number was reduced to 10 finalists and after the second cut, to five, which were announced Nov. 2.

In addition to Walker, the other finalist cities are Austin, Bemidji, Owatonna and Waconia.

To support its application, the Leech Lake Area Chamber collected stories from local business owners and residents explaining what makes Walker special and why they felt Walker was the Best MN Town.

“The Chamber is so excited that our unique town, with its unique stories, is being recognized by others,” Chamber Administrative and Events Coordinator Roxie Parks commented. “We always knew we were the Best MN Town. Now others will know it too!”

The selection process uses wide-ranging criteria including official responses to the Best MN Town questionnaire, qualitative and quantitative research, as well as a popular vote conducted online.

Online voting was held in September and October. Cities with vote totals that equaled 100 percent of their population got 100 points in the voting segment of the contest. Those who received a lesser percent received fewer points.

Owatonna topped the popular vote with 95,871. Bemidji was second with 73,003.

Others were Waconia, 70,003; Hopkins, 44,678; Austin, 30,660; Walker, 14,257; St. Cloud, 11,838; New Ulm, 9,385; Grand Marais, 5,264; and Duluth, 4,864.

The public voting segment accounts for 25 percent of the overall contest.

In addition to the public vote, the finalists and the eventual winner will be chosen by Minnesota Monthly’s editor and a panel of notable Minnesotans.

The winner will be announced Nov. 30 at a “Best of Minnesota Party” at the Lumber Exchange Event Centre in Minneapolis.”

The Best MN Town recipient will be featured in a multi-page editorial story in the February 2018 issue of Minnesota Monthly as well as receive a $50,000 multi-media advertising campaign with Minnesota Monthly and bragging rights as the magazine’s inaugural Best MN Town 2018 honoree.



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