Welcome to the 32nd annual Austin Chronicle "Best of Austin" awards. This issue, our largest of the year, is a uniquely collaborative experience between the Chronicle and its readers. We quite literally couldn't produce this issue without the help of our readers – about 22,000 of them, in fact, who cast a quarter of a million votes to determine 174 winners in this year's Readers Poll. Chronicle staff awarded an additional 76 Critics Picks. Add that all up – don't forget Readers Poll finalists, who get their due in these pages, too – and you're looking at nearly a thousand local people, places, and businesses celebrated in this issue.
And for the first time ever, we're inviting the general public to come celebrate these terrific finalists and winners in person with us. This Sunday, May 22, 1-5pm, we're throwing a "Best of Austin" Market Party at Lustre Pearl South (10400 Menchaca Rd.). The party – totally free, by the way; also dog- and kid-friendly – will feature vendors and performers, including DJ Chorizo Funk, drag artist Brigitte Bandit, and all(!) of the finalists in the Best Comedian category. Just be sure to RSVP first at austinchronicle.com/boaparty.– Kimberley Jones
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