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Following a trend among city and regional magazines, Delaware Today published its first Best of Delaware® issue in 1984. Recognizing the “Best of” concept as a chance for the winners to showcase their wares, magazines began hosting “Best of” parties to honor the winners. Delaware Today’s first Best of Delaware® party was in July 1988 at the Radisson Hotel (now the Wyndham) in downtown Wilmington. There were 40 participating vendors, about 300 people attended and the party brought in $15,000. “We considered it a success,” says Robert Martinelli, president of Today Media, which published Delaware Today. “We got a great response, and it kept growing from there.”

The Best of Delaware® Party eventually outgrew the space and the party moved to various locations as it continued to grow. “Every year it seemed to get better and pick up momentum and grow in numbers,” Martinelli says. There are now nearly 100 vendors and more than 2,000 in attendance. Overall the Best of Delaware® Party has raised more than one million dollars for it’s beneficiary. “It’s a sense of pride for me that a relatively small company, with only 50 employees, can have that kind of an impact and raise that kind of money,” Martinelli says.

Martinelli and the staff of Delaware Today look forward to helping many charities in Delaware in the years to come through the Best of Delaware Party.


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