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David Schmalz here, feeling grateful. Grateful to be a part of this wonderful community, and part of the incredible team we have here at the Weekly. And today, I’m grateful to present to you the Weekly’s 2021 Best Of Monterey County® edition, a 128-page insert you’ll find inside the paper on a newsrack near you. 

This is the sixth Best Of issue I’ve been a part of since joining the Weekly, and I believe it’s the best—it’s a labor of love, and full of love, a reflection of the resilience, ingenuity and generosity we’ve seen so much of locally over the last year-and-a-half.  

In recent years, the Weekly has framed its Best Of issues around a playful theme: puppies and kittens, outer space, the ’80s—you get the idea.

In this year’s issue, it’s all about honoring the local businesses, professionals and public servants that have helped us all get through hard times, when we needed them most. We are celebrating the winners by putting them on stage, accompanied by classic rock ‘n’ roll-style poster images.

And what could be a more beautiful theme than the love our community has for those that helped us, and the symbiotic nature of that love. That is the sum of what this issue represents in 2021, a sum far greater than its parts.

But the parts are awesome. In fact, our readers believe they are the best, and in these pages you’ll find guidance for things like: What’s the best place to take visitors? What’s the best new restaurant of 2021? Where can you find the best deli sandwich? What about toy store, thrift shop or auto repair shop? You’ll find those answers, and many more, and even a new category—Pandemic Madness—that specifically honors the things that helped make this last year both more livable, and survivable.

We at the Weekly are proud of every Best Of issue we ship to print, but this year feels even more special, because we in the community have all gone through a lot over the past 18 months, and while we may not be out of the woods yet, it feels like, for the most part, we made it.

That, dear readers, is a cause for celebration. And that is what this issue is: a celebration.

You make our work happen.

The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories.

We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community.

Journalism takes a lot of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the Weekly is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here.

Thank you.

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