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Which is the #bestdowntown? (Poll Closed)

Total Votes: 25,760

  • real downtowns - 9 years ago

    "Real Downtowns Beat Manufactured Ones—Even in Central Florida" --

  • andrews - 9 years ago

    Most folks who visit downtown DeLand enjoy their visits, and we get a lot of repeat visitors. Nothing wrong with that.

    Come downtown, have a good time. Rest assured you will not be alone in doing this.

  • Dits2 - 9 years ago

    "Papa outed us in the comments." Dits

  • NJDW - 9 years ago

    To the "cheating" comment: Since you can only vote once a day, I don't know why you think cheating is rampant. Sour grapes?

  • Native Delandite - 9 years ago

    I am very pleased that our little downtown DeLand has done so well in this "just for fun" poll. DeLand and all the other towns selected for this poll have worked hard to revitalize their communities. Twenty years or so ago, most of these towns were struggling to survive against the influx of big box stores and malls. The feeling of a small town downtown was disappearing. Each one of the towns sought out what made them special....what could bring the community and others back to their streets and shops. There is no true "best". Each is unique. I was very familiar with Mount Dora, Winter Park, Altamonte, and Celebration and have enjoyed visiting each one often over the years for different reasons. What this poll has done for me...and I hope for you as well made me realize there are many other area downtowns to visit which I would not have thought of before. I hope to check out Winter Garden, College Park, Avalon Park, Apopka and Sanford soon. Whoever wins...I hope we all visit each other's downtowns and enjoy.

  • HTTP - 9 years ago

    Now we know why Deland is winning....

  • VolusiaGirl - 9 years ago

    The logic (lack of) and whining are pretty funny, really. Y'all have not followed the contest through all of the rounds, have you? Just want to mention again that in the semifinals, DeLand was up against a town of 40,000. Why didn't y'all cry about how imbalanced it was for a town the size of DeLand to be pitted against Winter Garden? Remember this started out with 16 AMAZING towns, and now it's down to two. Mt. Dora held its own out of eight cities, so it's silly to whine that suddenly in the finals it's unfair. Here is the bracket so you can be reminded of how much butt BOTH DeLand and Mt. Dora have kicked to get here.

  • Pip - 9 years ago

    As a native Londoner, having travelled Florida and the USA far and wide, if there's one thing that sets Mount Dora aside from anywhere else, it's the lovely, warm welcoming folk who live there.
    And although they may have only half the population of Deland, I'm sure many visitors past and present who've experienced the hospitality will be throwing in a vote as well as those from the towns already knocked out of this poll. Go Mount Dora!!:)

  • With the respect that Mt. Dora deserves, our restaurants are 100% better and not as expensive. Deland is the County Seat, has Volusia County and that makes it the best for a restaurant or a professional office to consider opening its doors here. The downtown economy is fed by Stetson University, VCSO, our Circuit Courthouse, the Department of Elections, the FL DOT, Judges, the Clerk of Court, Athens Theater, Deland Museum, FL Hospital, City Hall, schools, the private sector, and the Volusia County Administrative building. I have tried cases in Volusia vs. Lake County, and our jury pool is broader and more diverse (our city is the same way). We also have the best City Police and Sheriff (who lives here). The best mayor --our answer to Bloomberg. Don't forget to try De La Vega Rest for the best "Paella", Mainstreet Grill, Bill and Frank's Brickhouse, Forno Bello's Lasagna, and try Tony's for the best Stromboli. Oh and don't forget our little taverns and fancy watering holes. As a 43 year old who arrived in 1988 I am glad I was adopted by your city and we've had far more ups than downs. Our kids go to our public schools here and they are Delanders and future Bulldogs. "Abrazos" --Hector Jr.

  • JesseRay - 9 years ago

    Bottom Line....Keep loading the votes Delanders... I live in the better of the two cities- Mt Dora.. Nuff said.

  • Aiden - 9 years ago

    I'm somewhat surprised that Mount Dora has the number of votes it does. That town doesn't strike me as one that would bother or even care to participate in something like this. I wouldn't be surprised if most of them aren't aware that the poll even exists. Other than the B&B owners & merchants, I'd say most of those votes are actually from people who don't live there.

  • Dean VanGossamer, Ph.D - 9 years ago

    I'd like to congratulate the Orlando Sentinel for coming up with one of the most misrepresentative and unscientific polls anyone could have thought of.

    On the one hand, you have the county seat of Volusia, that also happens to be home to a university of students not even included in the population count. On the other hand, you have a very small city where a significant portion of the residents included in the population count only live there part of the year.

    How is this poll even remotely representative of which city has the best downtown? Even if somehow Mount Dora won the poll, having the best downtown is completely subjective. Even so, there are dozens of criteria that could have been weighted and compared to come to a conclusion that isn't so ridiculously biased as this poll.

    I tip my hat to you, Orlando Sentinel, for fooling what will wind up being 20,000+ voters that this poll actually means something.

  • Patricia Levine - 9 years ago

    Isn't it a bit unfair that we here in Mt. Dora with a population of 12,000 are going up against Deland with 27,000 residents …even if outsiders didn't vote and it doesn't look like they are…because where are the 250,000 people who come through our town 2 times a year for not only the Fine Arts Fest but don't forget the Arts & Craft Fest too.….we couldn't stand a chance! Mount Dora is an awesome place to find fine dining as well as cultural flavors. We have Art Galleries, Antique shops and many more specialty shops for the home as well as clothing etc. We hold events for families, couples and enthusiasts of the arts as well as sports with our Cycle Fests, Marathons and Downtown Strolls a plenty! We have the Ice House theater and the Historic Lake Side Inn with some of the most breathtaking views and sunsets on Lake Dora….DELAND….You've got nothing on us! Except for a lot more people..and I bet most of them are here shopping half the time!

  • Derp! - 9 years ago

    What would the point of cheating even be? Is there some sort of prize involved for the winner other than a self-congratulatory pat on the back? Do people feel like they're really losing something for their city not winning? Why so much vitriol? You all understand that this poll is to see which is the best downtown AFTER orlando, yeah? So you're all pretty much fighting to see who can shout the loudest; "we're number 2! we're number 2!". Listen to a bunch of Homer Simpsons.

  • Cheat - 9 years ago

    Some of us know that cheating is rampant with this thing which really makes it of little significance. Very interesting that votes for Deland increased at exactly the same rate over multiple time periods. I have no pony in the race but am technically savvy and offended by bunk.

  • Pam - 9 years ago

    For those commenting on the number of votes DeLand is getting, it is partly because for those of us raised in Deland are still close and communicate with each other from all over the world. A friend of mine posted the link to vote on fb. I voted and shared the link. (I live in KS for now.) Three other friends shared the link and I can only assume they voted as well. (Two of them are in GA.) One of my friends commented on my link that he voted and he is Japan. We are proud of our home town and will gladly stand up for no matter where live now.

  • High Fashion - 9 years ago

    The love for Deland is something intrinsic and somewhat abstract. It's the type of thing that, if you don't have it, seems abnormal or off-base; almost inexplicable like a love for Florida (because I love Florida but seriously, let's face it - Florida is f*cking ridiculous I like most of the downtown's that were included in this bracket but spend most of my time between Deland and Mt. Dora; both of which I could totally lose myself in. This poll doesn't really "decide" which downtown is best at all - that's obviously comparing apples to oranges. It just shows which city is most beloved by its people.

    Downtown Deland is truly a diamond in the rough.

  • Barb - 9 years ago

    Sheesh, people! I live in Central Florida but NOT in any of the communities that were part of the initial brackets. I've visited all of them with the exception of Avalon Park, and enjoy all of them, period. And I voted each time for my preference in each bracket. Please don't assume that only residents of a particular community are voting for 'their' community. Relax, folks. There are a lot of lovely small downtowns. Live and let live.

  • Volusiagirl - 9 years ago


    Dude, haven't you ever heard that size doesn't matter?

    Winter Garden is nearly twice the size of DeLand, and DeLand was pitted against them in the last round.

  • Stephen - 9 years ago

    @Marc "from 1 to 5 am" College students. It's finals week. No one is sleeping on this campus.

  • Wayne - 9 years ago

    I really like mt Dora as well as Winter Garden. Often, when my wife and i go for a motorcycle ride, we try to include both towns in our loop. But when you look at the whole picture, DeLand has so much to offer. Centrally located between the coast and Orlando, with activities downtown for all ages. While I don't live in DeLand, I love to spend time there. The people seem to be very friendly and welcoming, and as seen in this little exercise, very passionate about their town. Good luck DeLand.

  • KIM - 9 years ago

    Life long central Florida resident who LOVES each of these two beautiful little towns but personally prefer Mt Dora over just about anywhere, but that being said I am blown away by how the comments being left. Come on people its Christmas time and this is just an internet poll that means nothing. God has blessed us with two great little towns that people come from all around to enjoy. If other people read all of this non sense they would probably change their minds and not want to go to visit either.

  • Sane Person - 9 years ago

    Why does this contest even exist? Who cares and its so stupid. Another reason why the Orlando Sentinel sucks as a paper. This ranks up there with the Orlando Sentinel best Restaurants awards a few months ago. Pathetic!

  • Dave - 9 years ago

    This poll seems to be significantly lopsided. Will the final count take into consideration the size of each city's population? Doesn't seem fair to pit a city less than half the size of the other in a poll like this when you know the vast majority of the voters are going to just be the residents of each one...

  • Martyn Searle - 9 years ago

    @Marc I am from Mount Dora. I just think people are getting way too worked up over all of this. It is just a silly internet poll. As for how many votes are coming in per hour from 1 to 5 am, I don't even know how you know that stat, but the fact that you investigated it that much tells me you're spending way too much time worrying about it.

  • Marc - 9 years ago

    @Martyn - Explain how Deland gets a steady 310 votes per hour between 1AM and 5AM? You must be the most regimented town this side of North Korea. BTW- Congrats, that means per capita, you are equals to Mount Dora in terms of how "awesome" and "tight-knit" your community is.

  • Martyn Searle - 9 years ago

    A little math to calm the conspiracy theorists. If you take the combined population of both towns (39500) and then look at what percentage of that total resides in each town, you'll find that about 68% live in DeLand and 32% in Mount Dora. Now look at how the vote is running. See any pattern?

    Total pop. 39500
    Deland 27000 (68.35%)
    Mount Dora 12500 (31.65%)

  • Elliot - 9 years ago

    There is an age old truth about internet trolls, if you don't feed them they starve off and go away.

    Don't let the thoughts of a few cloud the thoughts of many. There are wonderful people and communities in each of the Central Florida areas. I grew up in Central Florida and I miss it. There are very few other places which are quite like it.

  • joel - 9 years ago

    To be fair, I think most of the people "pretending to be from a different town" are people still upset about the DeLand/Winter Garden poll and not the Mount Dora residents. If you look at the last round, the Mount Dora poll didn't have anything negative from anyone, so it stands to reason its not them doing the bad mouthing now.

  • seriously? - 9 years ago

    Jesus H. Christ people, have you forgotten we're ALL Central FL supporters? Why the anger over a silly poll? I grew up visiting Mt. Dora for bike rides and I graduated from Stetson. They're both nice little towns, though you'd never guess it from some of these comments. Sheesh, it's a poll for the Slantinel, why so upset? I'm giving the edge to DeLand if only for the fact that the Christmas Candlelight Concert Choir is without a doubt my favorite musical event of the whole year that my family has been attending for many many years religiously. That said, Mt. Dora has some beautiful trails for cycling and while I wouldn't live there, I can see why many do. Please, in the spirit of the season, can't we all just get along?

  • Dits - 9 years ago

    Is that the preferred language to use whilst sipping a fine wine at the yacht club during the Mount Dora sailing regatta?

  • Panthercity - 9 years ago

    So, now we know that it is actually DeLand of Plenty!

  • Cassandra - 9 years ago

    When I said dishing negativity makes your own town looks bad, I did not to suggest that people should pretend they're from another town and sound like an idiot.

  • Cassandra - 9 years ago

    Keep in mind, whichever side you're on, if you engage in the negativity by dishing it back, you're only making your own town look bad.

  • Elliot - 9 years ago

    I agree Mike82, how dare people be passionate about something. What are they thinking? Community pride is for chumps.

  • mike saxton - 9 years ago


  • Cassandra - 9 years ago

    I think it's time to take a deep cleansing breath. Mt. Dora, you must think we're crazy for letting our town-pride freak flags fly so boisterously. I'm a little embarrassed that what should be a peaceful version of "We've got spirit yes we do! We've got spirit, how 'bout you?" has turned into... well... this. Unfortunately, this feed started as a spillover from the DeLand vs. Winter Garden round where we were accused of cheating because how could a community with 10,000 less people otherwise keep up with a posh city like Winter Garden? The truth is, we do have a lot of pride in our downtown, as should everyone wherever they decide to grow their roots. I regret that you stumbled in on us with our feathers ruffled from having to defend ourselves that last round. Typically we are very peaceful folk, and I truly do think that the point in this whole exercise is to highlight some of the wonderful places there are to visit here in Central Florida.

  • roger and tara johanssen - 9 years ago

    @Uhhh - Also, nobody actually cares why Deland is winning the poll. The point is, the poll doesn't actually prove anything other than how narcisstic and petty Deland residents seem to be. To openly brag that you've roped thousands of Stetson alumni into clicking a vote button for an Orland Sentinel poll to prove how great Deland is? That you are actively lobbying everyone in every restaurant and business in the area to go out and vote for a meaningless poll? Talk about needing a hobby!

  • roger and tara johanssen - 9 years ago

    Uhhh - (by the way, classy name, truly shows the irony about you being one to talk about what 3-year-olds would say): Has it every occured to you that none of the comments you quoted mentioned anything about them being from mount dora? you are assuming any or all of the "anti-deland" comments are from mount dora residents.

  • roger and tara johanssen - 9 years ago

    Let's not kid ourselves, Mt. Dora is by far the better town. A popularity contest isn't going to change that. Deland is nice as far as most Florida towns go. It's historic, its the Volusia county seat, and it hosts Stetson University. I see a lot of bickering from the Deland folks, but I haven't seen one actual Mt. Dora resident say anything negative about anyone.

  • Gene - 9 years ago

    Both towns left in this competition are nice, but if we are being honest, Mount Dora is in a league of its own. Incredible restaurants you won't find anywhere else, eclectic shopping and one of the biggest antique venues in the South. Lake Dora has incredible activities like boat tours, fishing, sailing regattas, and a real light house. That town is truly multi-modal. You can arrive by boat, seaplane, car, and soon the Orange Blossom Cannonball will be arriving! Nationally ranked art festivals, craft festivals, Florida's oldest bicycle tour, etc. Some of the best and oldest housing architecture in the area. Also some of the most exclusive residences outside the Orlando area. There's a reason 1000sq foot 2 bedroom bungalos will set you back more than $200k in Mount Dora, and I'm sure their residents will be more than happy to not win this poll and keep it one of the best kept secrets in all of the southern states.

  • wah - 9 years ago

    LOL, omg. I'm pretty sure everywhere has drugs so to use that as a negative against Deland is just retarded. As far as the person who used caps to get her point across, lay off the caps for one, two, it's not cheating. if it were cheating and "not allowed" then they would have created the poll that you were only allowed to vote using ONE IP ADDRESS, so that would narrow it down to only one vote per household. OBVIOUSLY they do not see a problem as they keep opening the poll up for people to continue to vote. Its called loyalty, might want to look that word up in the dictionary. If you are going to criticize Deland, make sure you have facts and actually leave your house more than just goin to the grocery store to experience things.

    mt dora might be "better" looking because of the view they have (located near a lake) but lets be honest, it's boring and i'm pretty sure they have been doing construction for the past like 5-6 years. are they ever going to finish? i swear everytime i go over there, they are still working on something in the same area.

    point is; deland OBVIOUSLY has more people in their community that care about where they are from, which you can tell that from the poll; so just accept the fact that we are winning fair and square ;)

  • Hand of Truth - 9 years ago

    So by essentially asking towns to vote for themselves as who's the best, this poll proves what? Who is the most populous/self-congratulating town in Central Florida? I know, Orlando Sentinel, that this is all just "good fun" but seriously... you know as well as anybody that 90% of your readership takes what you print as the gospel. You may as well call this vote now, but I'm sure you need to let this scientifically accurate poll run its course so as not to damage your journalistic integrity. LOL

  • Kevin - 9 years ago

    Hey Holly Groves, you can not vote more than once. Yes you can click the vote icon as much as you want,
    but did you read the statement which pops up? Your vote has already been counted. Yes Mt. Dora is nice, but you don't have to be the way you are. Win or Loose so what. Grow up.
    Have a Merry Christmas Go DELAND

  • holly groves - 9 years ago

    forgot this wasn't facebook , anyone who knows me knows I ALWAYS use !!!! ??? always, oh & my .... did not realize that is why I am have been labeled hostel. wow, getting messages on my fb really? well this is really stupid & I just cant believe the bullies over a conversation that everyone has a right to express. I wasn't in anyway fired up about any of this, seriously because I use caps & my !?. I am a hostel, need to calm down lol. wowza I am so sorry please forgive me for my inappropriate internet manners. UNREAL!!!

  • Johnny B - 9 years ago

    Holly, stay calm and don't eat the coleslaw. (no exclamation point)

  • Kristi - 9 years ago

    DeLand is a very close knit community, and we all pull together. That's why I love it. I can't go anywhere in this town without seeing people that I personally know. If I need anything, there is always someone close by to help. There are thousands of us connected together on Facebook, and we quickly share with each other. It doesn't surprise me at all, that this voting has spread so virally, as does anything going on in Deland. To be logical as to whether this contest is fair or not... It's a question of simple mathematics... if every single person voted only once, on both sides, we would still obviously beat Mt Dora, for the simple fact that there are twice as many people here... Stop getting so upset about mathematics!

  • bob - 9 years ago

    the fact that any of you people are losing your breath (or finger strokes) over this shows what losers you really are. Save your passion for more pressing issues.

  • Deb - 9 years ago

    I love Mount Dora and Deland equally. Both have very quaint downtowns with fabulous restaurants. I happen to live in North Orlando and recently opened a Shoe Boutique off one of the side streets in downtown Deland. Both cities are people & pet friendly, and have a tremendous amount to offer.

    My vote of course is for Deland, but I would not be disparaged if Mount Dora got it as I frequent there quite often. Folks this is all good competitive fun. May the best city win.

    Happy Holidays!

  • DaveK - 9 years ago

    Friggin' attorney's!

  • @MountDora - 9 years ago

    Mount Dora recently hosted the Stetson University Opera Theatre for a fabulous performance of 'The Return of Ulysses to His Homeland. What a great group of folks to say the least. We are looking forward to more performances that are already being planned. Our two communities have a lot more in common than most folks know! Say hello to Wayne Carter at MainStreet DeLand, we miss him here in Lake County!

  • Gina - 9 years ago

    I love living in DeLand. I think it is a great community and a great place to live. We truly pulled together as a community and showed our love for our city. Stay positive fellow DeLand folks, and show how amazing this city is. There are a lot of great cities/towns in Central Florida that I love to visit, but it is a great feeling at the end of the day to live and work in DeLand. Come visit - we will welcome you! Good Luck Mt. Dora, you have a nice town too. Thanks to the Sentinel for such a nice competition to show pride in our communities. GO DELAND! :-]

  • Smiling - 9 years ago

    This is the funniest thread I've ever seen! People fighting over Mount Dora and Deland!!! Wake up people it's a big wide world out there and this is just competitive fun. Both towns are great. I happen to live in Mt. Dora, and I'd be very happy if we won, but at the end of the day, aren't there much greater things in the world that the angry people on this thread could be focusing their time and energy on?

  • Jess - 9 years ago

    @Holly - I think it is comments such as "somehow Im attacking folks from Deland??? Calm down ???? Really ??? LOL!!" and the excessive use of "!!!!" and "????" that make your posts come off as worked up or hostile. I don't mean this in a derogatory way, I am just trying to inform you. You can convey your point just as clearly without using those things, and you will seem much less aggressive. Excessive punctuation and capslock is seen as hostile, aggressive or ignorant per internet etiquette. Again, I am making no judgements towards you personally, I am just conveying how things are perceived. Just food for thought....

  • Nick - 9 years ago

    Deland has better restaurants, nicer jewelry stores and even a gun store right smack in the middle of downtown. Downtown Deland has grown a tremendous amount in the past few years, this win is well deserved.

  • Matt - 9 years ago

    Ok so heres how we settle this for all you talking about cheating...please message and then give Mt. D or DeLand 2000 votes in an hr and that will settle it...if not youre just a whinny person...from here on out anyone who posts something about cheating with proxies but cant back it up...we're all just going to laugh at your ignorance...actually ill take it one step further anyone willing ill make a seperate poll so it wont interfere with this one show my 2k votes in an hr and ill give you a of my word

  • LisaD - 9 years ago

    @Holly..I'm pretty sure it was the all caps that made it seem harsh :) And when the announcement of this contest first came out, the Sentinel stated that everyone could vote once from each device. So it IS fair and by the rules to vote more than once in a day. I just know Deland is on fire with reaching out to every available vote we can get. Like I said before, I think both towns are great, and I visit Mt Dora as well. To me this contest can't possibly have a "loser"

  • Turned off by the Negative Comments - 9 years ago

    Hey, What's with all the sour grapes? When I was at lunch today, everyone in the restaraunt was voting for DeLand. The waitress was encouraging everyone that came in to vote and they were doing so. This restaurant is not even in the "Downtown". So, the citizens of DeLand are proud of thier City and want everyone to know it. Go DeLand. By the way the more you complain the more we will forward the e-mail to get even more people to vote.

  • Holly Groves - 9 years ago

    PS... The comment about being fake & making mount dora voters look bad... well grew up MT. Dora... I voted for my hometown so I don't really understand that statement ??? But its all good & the poll site should be the one to manage the voting system & manage how the voting should be regulated... I have no problem with either town that wins, that is NOT the issue I have at all... I just think it should be fair & only one vote allowed per person.. fair & square & everyone is happy =] That's all!!!

  • Holly Groves - 9 years ago

    Im sorry, How did you get that I am attacking anyone from Deland??? My ONLY comment was about people who multiple vote!!! whether from Mount Dora or Deland I don't think its right or fair!!! & somehow Im attacking folks from Deland??? Calm down ???? Really ??? LOL!!! I am NOT remotely even fired up but whatever, always someone gotta take something someone says & twist it to be harsh or mean when I didn't say anything remotely harsh or mean to anyone... simply put in my opinion about people who vote more than once... That does NOT give a fair & accurate vote... Im sorry I am all about getting it honest & if you see that as harsh or mean than right on man!!! I am a local photographer & I am involved in many photo competitions... If I got my votes by duplicate voting, well then I really would feel or tech be a winner & therefor wouldn't want it if I didn't get it honest!!! But that's just me ...But hey kudos to the honesty of the one who admitted they have voted multiple time from diff devices lol .. anyway may the best town win & yall have a very Merry Christmas =]

  • Martyn Searle - 9 years ago

    Wow! I am shocked at how worked up people are getting over this thing. I was made aware of this by a Mount Dora website that announced they had made the finals. I live in Mount Dora, and really love it here. Will I be disappointed if DeLand wins the vote? No. All that means is that organizations in DeLand were working very hard to turn out votes. With the exception of the Villages and Avalon park, I have been to all of these downtowns. They all have something to offer. Which is best is strictly a matter of beauty in the eye of the beholder. My personal opinion is that the Sentinel got their number 1 seeds just right, and that opinion will be unswayed by the vote. Mount Dora, Winter Park, Winter Garden, and College Park are all places I would choose over DeLand. But lets ease up on the bitterness and name calling. If DeLand is "cheating", does it really matter?

  • Ryan - 9 years ago

    @Lynn Wisniewski: She got it right. And besides! It's the Christmas season ya'll. Keep it clean and fun. If you want to wine, get a bottle of some wine and enjoy it with friends and family. :)

  • Martha - 9 years ago

    @Holly, Please calm down. If you're a fake poster trying to make Mt. Dora voters look bad, you're doing a great job. No need to be hostile or mean over a friendly competition. Both are lovely little towns, and everyone should feel free to vote however they like (personally I'm rooting for DeLand, but I've had some wonderful experiences in Mt. Dora as well). Comments like yours just make Mt. Dora voters seem petty and neurotic (when this is most certainly not the case). P.S. If you think DeLand doesn't have "elderly folks" you surely have never actually been to DeLand.

  • Lynn Wisniewski - 9 years ago

    Hey guys let's remember what this is all about...promoting our community & having a good time. Let's stick to the good out there & be nice to one another.

  • Polly Pocket - 9 years ago

    Well I am glad to see most of DeLand people are keeping there cool. I see a lot of DeLand voters even talking well of Mount Dora. We do not have to use all the caps and exclamations points’ people. WOW. Anyway thanks to all the adults who do not have to say something bitter or rude. Good luck all.

  • anon - 9 years ago

    yes, open your eyes, I worked in downtown deland for years and witnessed first hand the amount of drug abusers and homeless dotting the streets, nodding out next to the entrance in the boston coffee alley was always the worst ones. I spent my whole life in Deland and wouldn't shed a tear if I never went back. Read the police docket on a daily basis, robberies and drug charges left and right. Facts don't lie.

  • Mycenia - 9 years ago

    Good heavens, people! Just because someone claims to have hacked the poll doesn't mean they actually succeeded. The only person who would post something like that is someone who wants to discredit the results. Btw, that "cheat" hasn't worked since last year. Deland and Winter Garden gained votes at almost the exact same rate and were less than 500 votes behind at close. Both towns had significantly more votes than Mount Dora and Avalon Park. Want to know how Deland won? Because we post to Facebook and Twitter and Google and we ask anyone and everyone to share it. My feed alone had over 40 different people posting it from all over the world right now. The people who live here take pride in their town. I've also noticed we seem to have far better manners... Badmouthing your opponent never wins brownie points.

  • Brandie - 9 years ago

    Ooh bragging rights that we won an Orlando Sentinel contest for best small town... that's worth cheating for, that's for sure!!! Not quite. I know for a fact every employee in at the City of DeLand building voted on every device they have... not to mention Stetson, Facebook sharing etc... In other words, get a life.
    And stop "yelling". No one cares. If it is cheating to vote on multiple devices, then it is cheating to vote every day too. Don't take it out on us that you only have one device to vote on...

  • Elliot - 9 years ago

    It would seem that someone enjoys the use of exclamation points just a bit to much.

  • Polly Pocket - 9 years ago

    I was born and live in DeLand. I have traveled and lived other places. I always seem to come home. We have our share of addicts and issues like any other city does. But our downtown has always been amazing. Since I was a child and went to Woolworth's and ate ice cream sundaes. We even lived through Wal-Mart coming to town, we are so happy and so proud of our town we make it our goal to keep our hometown businesses alive and we have succeeded... We have made it on list for the most restaurant variety in a small town and tops of list for most things in square footage. You are right the comedy club only opens sometimes. There are so many shops and places to eat in just a few blocks that it would take awhile to do them all. We have busy seasons and slow seasons like anywhere else but we have enough pride to keep our town alive. We also do have a lot of alumni for schools here. On my FB your can see the multiple classmates spread the word nationwide, we have people who loves us from all over the US. Good luck everyone I do like to go to Mount Dora too. Just goes to show you how many awesome cities FL. has.

  • gettingblinded - 9 years ago

    Are the cap and multiple exclamation points really necessary?

  • Holly Groves - 9 years ago


  • Holly Groves - 9 years ago


  • David - 9 years ago

    Tell you how I'm going to be decided the winner. I live near winter garden and think it is a great town with its great bike path and weekly activities among other reasons. But with that said I plan to visit each of these towns on the bracket over time, have a meal there, shop around a bit and THEN I will decide which town wins in my own mind. To me it is not which town has the best social media and the most people/devices to vote on but what the town has to offer people who visit.
    I've been to Mt Dora on our Sunday bike rides and think it is very quaint. Been through Deland in the past but did not stop (I will next time). I would suggest everyone who voted, whether it was 1 time or 1000 times if they used a program, do the same thing and then decide for themselves.

  • Alex - 9 years ago

    Crazy looking people? Better than irresponsible kids that drive drunk. DeLand is a great place, I'm sure Mt. Dora is as well.

  • cgregory - 9 years ago

    first we are cheaters and now we are addicts??? really?? lol...
    and Mimi, you are incorrect, we do have a comedy club downtown...get out more.

  • Korey - 9 years ago

    Mimi- There is a comedy club downtown, and instead of criticizing other people and places let's work on more productive things, like not letting our kids drink and drive, especially when they're underage :)

  • Andy - 9 years ago

    @mimi Are you sure you live in DeLand? I haven't lived there in a number of years and still know that one of the first places coming from the north in downtown DeLand is a comedy club. Not sure if there is a prohibition on saying names of places, but here is the address 222 N Woodland Blvd., DeLand, Florida 32720. At least check your facts before accusing another commenter of lying.

  • anon - 9 years ago

    Unless Bonkers closed there is a comedy club, its only open 1 night a week though

  • Derek - 9 years ago

    Why is DeLand doing so well? It's called community pride and a strong sense of loyalty. One of the greatest things about our town and downtown area is the pride and loyalty that our residents and patrons have. If you haven't had a chance to come here we would love to have you. Check our our great shops, awesome restaurants, murals and so much more! Way to go DeLand! Keep up the good work!

  • mimi - 9 years ago

    I live in Deland. There is no comedy club to whoever said there is. Mt. Dora is much prettier than downtown Deland any day. Nothing special about it. Crazy looking people and plenty of addicts.

  • Ken Venuti - 9 years ago

    I think that leaving out some of the beautiful, historic beach-side communities like New Smyrna Beach was a huge oversight in this poll.

  • Robin - 9 years ago

    I think it is really funny that people would say Deland cheated. Deland doesn't have to cheat as we are a city full of supporters. We support our county, our city, and most of all each other. We have a lot of pride in our city and we should because Its great! I among many others have devoted a lot of time and effort into making people aware they can vote for Deland. I myself devoted the whole morning updating and reminding people to vote. No cheating about it. These are real people voting for the city they love.

  • anon - 9 years ago

    everyone seems to be forgetting that no matter how pretty deland is it has been overtaken with drug addicts and thieves. By the way, im from deland before everyone jumps down my throat.

  • LisaD - 9 years ago

    I guess keeping it Winter Garden Whiner- free just isn't possible. Fortunately, this seems like a small representation of that community, so, like all friendly and non-threatening (or threatened) Delandites, I will not let it ruin my day :) I would like to say the good people of Mt Dora seem to be a classy bunch- which means this contest is definitely between the two best towns. Regardless of the outcome, both are FANTASTIC places to visit.

  • Chris - 9 years ago

    Well, I think it should tell you what the editors thought of downtown Deland, by giving it a three seed. They knock out Winter Park, then Winter Garden, and, now they are even beating Mount Dora? Seems legit...

  • Bob - 9 years ago

    @cgregory who is to say - well me of course. I did not post it. Who has the time? the collage kids being pointed to as the engine of the voting. Frankly I don't care, I don't have a horse in this race and find it equally silly for some to complain about the results as it is to claim there is no "cheating". To be upset by a silly internet polls is a waste of energy. To deny that some are motivated enough to cheat is naive. Really folks, its all in good fun and in the end the exposure for all of the towns involved is a good thing - as I have said before.

  • wah - 9 years ago

    i have at least 10-15 on my friends list who have 1000+ friends on their friends list who has been sharing this like crazy so for the people who are whining about cheating, just accept the fact you lost :)

  • koko - 9 years ago

    This is all over Facebook. Everyone in Deland is voting each day on every device they own. I have voted 3 times today. It's not cheating. It's getting the vote out in any way possible. We are taking this seriously and will continue to vote as often as possible from as many devices as possible until the poll is closed. Go Deland!!!

  • AcornFinder - 9 years ago

    Winter Garden is nice, but DeLand has one of the best downtown areas in the US. Best restaurant in Central Florida? Check (Cress). Welcoming atmosphere? Check. Live music? Check. Restored historic theater? Check (Athens). Comedy club? Check. Small, local businesses? Check. Walk there from Stetson. I do NOT live in DeLand, but the vote seems a no-brainer to me. Mt. Dora also is very nice. I've been there, but DeLand beats it.

  • cgregory - 9 years ago

    @bob, who's to say you didnt post that link to make it appear deland supporters are cheaters?? and btw,nobody cares enough to go thru the background scripts to cheat on something like this except maybe yourself....

  • John B. - 9 years ago

    I think the sore WG voters are forgetting that DeLand has Stetson on it's side, and with that a bunch of tech-savvy students who ALL use social media and the internet. I received a link to this poll from 5 different social media platforms alone in the last few hours of voting. DeLand may be small, but they are proud of their history. And Stetson's students and alumni, while not full time residents and many of whom now live all across the country, came out in full force as well.

    We probably would have been pretty shocked if WG, which wasn't even a town until decades after we had an entire university, had beat DeLand, but we still wouldn't have accused you of cheating. It's a friendly competition, no need to be a sore loser. Best of luck to both Mt. Dora and DeLand!

  • Furious - 9 years ago

    The Sentinel should really do something about this.. It should have been evident from the start that someone from Deland is using a proxy script to vote when they somehow managed to beat Winter Park of all places. They are up to 1,500 votes within the first hour that the poll has been up? How is this possible? There has been more voter turnout for this "bracket buster" in Deland then there was in the last presidential primary election. Seems legit to me. I think they should be wholly disqualified and the last bracket poll win given to Winter Garden.

  • Bob - 9 years ago

    Doesn't an accusation stop being one when immediately after a poll is closed someone posts the comment (see if here "

    ExcellentPoll - 19 minutes ago

    It works! Deland!!!

    That pretty much is an admission that at least one person used a spam vote tool and clearly indicated which town it was used to support. So to say "crybabys" or to claim its "Rude" when an specific statement was made that it did indeed occur is rather naive.... Just sayin

  • jo`el - 9 years ago

    I just moved here from California, and I thought Central Florida period, was more friendlier than this.
    A Best Downtown fight, WOW!!! just vote and let it do what it do, it's not that serious....just fun.

  • Jack P - 9 years ago

    First city in Florida to have electricity, first private school in the state (founded 1883), county seat, home to the gorgeous campus of Stetson University, a downtown that's 90% locally owned shops and restaurants, and some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet... I vote DeLand!!!

  • brandie - 9 years ago

    Amen Elliot...
    To accuse folks of cheating in an Orlando Sentinel contest is super humorous. I am all for people having pride in their home town, but to make rude accusatory comments is petty and ridiculous. Get a life and GOOO DELAND ;-)

  • Jess - 9 years ago

    "The only way any downtown would beat the other ones as Deland is doing is by cheating the poll by using IP masking and proxies" I think it is kind of sad that you believe the way anyone could win is by cheating.

    It was a tight race, and with Stetson University being a major part of the DeLand community - naturally it's extremely loyal alumni and supporters would come out in force to recognize this small town. I think some of the WG supporters are really showing the ugly side of their area. This poll was supposed to be a friendly competition, allowing people to support their local areas. Resorting to name calling and cheating accusations really taking away from this.

    I hope this can continue in a friendly manner and that we can all celebrate how much we care about our local communities. Mt. Dora is a lovely place with great shops and restaurants. That being said, I'm still voting for DeLand because that is where my heart is. :) Best of luck, Mt. Dora! DeLand is coming out swinging!

  • Elliot - 9 years ago

    @Marc - You would think DeLand had won the Stanley cup with these accusations about cheating and the extent people are complaining about DeLands victory. At the end of the day its just a friendly competition and more of a popularity contest than anything else where the more people who show up to vote win no matter which downtown is really the best.

    As to the victory, it was close. Certainly not some sort of landslide as it is acted out to be. Also, I must ask how is is believable that Winter Garden could have come up with 17K honestly and DeLand couldn't have? Winter Gardens votes were flying in today as well. The numbers were flying in on both sides. One side just barely edged out the other. Is it not possible that Winter Garden and DeLand simply had a tremendous amount of people excited about their respective cities?

    In the end, there are better things to be worried about in life than some random poll which means nearly nothing...

  • cgregory - 9 years ago

    what a bunch of crybaby sore losers down there! cheating to win this?? really?? lol. this poll has spread like wildfire in is shared . just like it says to do... deland folks are proud and proud to prove it.

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