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El Dorado ranked among Best Small Town Cultural Scenes in USA Today and 10Best poll

Posted on July 15, 2020

After four weeks of voting, El Dorado placed third in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice for Best Small Town Cultural Scene. Although El Dorado did not place first out of the 20 nominated cities across America, the top 10 contenders are all recognized as winners.

“To get third place out of 20 other cities for Best Small Town Cultural Scene is such an honor,” said Bill Luther, El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce CEO. “El Dorado offers such a wide variety of attractions between the Murphy Arts District, South Arkansas Arts Center, South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, El Dorado Days, Main Street El Dorado, plus so much more. I knew El Dorado would be a top contender for this category.”

According to USA Today’s website, nominees for all categories are chosen by a panel of relevant exports which includes a combination of editors from USA Today, editors from, relevant expert contributors and sources for both these media and other Gannett properties.

Voting for Best Small Town Cultural Scene was open for four weeks, closing at noon on June 29.

The website described El Dorado as a small town in South Arkansas, “rich in both Southern Charm and cultural appeal. El Dorado hosts a full calendar of cultural festivals each year, including the Southern Food & Wine Festival, MusicFest and the Mayhaw Festival. The town is also home to the South Arkansas Symphony, one of the first orchestras established in the state. Visit Oil Heritage Park to learn more about the city’s boom town history.”

“We’re extremely proud of our placement,” El Dorado Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer said in a message to the News-Times. “We appreciate everyone who took the time to vote for our unique and creative City!”

First place went to Chautauqua, New York; second place: Haddonfield, New Jersey; fourth place: Sheridan, Wyoming; fifth place: Saratoga Springs, New York; sixth place: Staunton, Virginia; seventh place: Perham, Minnesota; eighth place: Point Pleasant, West Virginia; ninth place: Nashville, Indiana; tenth place: Occidental, California.

All of the nominations had populations of fewer than 30,000 (as of the last census). “What each [city] lacks in size, it makes up for with a big cultural punch – museums,art galleries, performing arts and busy event calendars,” the 10Best website stated.

“I want to thank all of the people that voted and shared the information via email and social media to encourage their friends to vote daily,” Luther said. “It wouldn’t have been possible without you.”