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El Dorado wins 1st place in USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice for Best Small Town Cultural Scene

Posted on November 9, 2021

EL DORADO (Nov. 5, 2021) – It was announced today that El Dorado was named Best Small Town Cultural Scene in the 2021 USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards, following 4 weeks of online voting.

Out of the 20 nominated cities for this category, El Dorado placed first with the most votes.

According to USA Today’s website, nominees for all categories are chosen each year by a panel of relevant experts which include a combination of editors from USA Today, editors from, relevant expert contributors, and sources from both these media and other Gannett properties. All nominees are listed under their category on the contest’s website page. All voting is digital and the 10Best Readers’ Choice Award contest is accessible on the website.

Voting for this category opened September 27th and ended on October 25th. Voters were allowed to vote once a day. The results were announced at noon EDT, on Friday, November 5th.

“We are so excited for El Dorado to be recognized as the Best Small Town Cultural Scene winner and for others to see what we already know about El Dorado – It’s the best!” said Beth Brumley, Main Street El Dorado Executive Director.

USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice 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. Visitors can visit Oil Heritage Park to learn more about the city’s boomtown history.”

1st Place – El Dorado, Arkansas; 2nd Place – Sainte Genevieve, Missouri; 3rd place – Haddonfield, New Jersey; 4th Place – Sedona, Arizona; 5th Place – Staunton, Virginia; 6th Place – Cedar Key, Florida; 7th Place – Eureka Springs, Arkansas; 8th Place – Saratoga Springs, New York; 9th Place – Carmel-by-the-Sea, California; 10 Place – Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

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.

“We really appreciate everyone who voted and shared the information to vote via email or social media and encouraged others to vote daily,” said Kaitlyn Rigdon, El Dorado-Union County Chamber of Commerce Communications Director. “We are so happy El Dorado placed first in this category, and we take such pride in all of the things our amazing town has to offer.”

Last year, El Dorado was nominated and placed 3rd in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice for Small Town Cultural Scene category.