It was a beautiful night for the 2023 Stars of the Banner celebration in Cambridge, honoring winners of the annual Dorchester Banner readers’ poll. The community enjoyed a fun night in Gerry Boyle Park at Great Marsh on May 11, with vendors, food trucks and live music by Tranzfusion.
All spring, readers had voted for their favorite businesses, nonprofits and community leaders in the 2023 Stars of the Banner contest, celebrated on May 11 in Cambridge. Winners were announced and snapped pictures with their awards.
The Stars contest has over 100 categories, from favorite crab cakes and chiropractors to festivals and workplaces. There were approximately 26,000 nominations and votes cast, said Publisher Konrad LaPrade.
“You wouldn’t have this many votes without fantastic businesses … and a connected community that likes talking about those businesses,” LaPrade complimented.
“We couldn’t do this without you, so thank you very much,” marketing consultant Dave Cannon told the crowd.
Guests enjoyed vendors, games of cornhole and live rock music. Families brought children and dogs to enjoy the night out, making themselves comfortable on picnic blankets and lawn chairs. Guests dug into a variety of festival food, from cheesesteaks and burgers to flavored lemonades, fresh strawberries and ice cream.
A special part of the program was the Hometown Heroes Award, presented this year to eight individuals for their community service. They also received commendations from the state legislature.
The 2023 honorees were: Kortnie Askins for her everyday kindness to the homeless community; Juanita Darby for her work in emergency service and general fundraising; Trevor Geer for his efforts to support military veterans; Martha (Mauk) Kral for diving headfirst into leading fundraisers for people in need; Shantay Linder for her endless community service, including helping people navigate pharmacy regulations; Sergio L. Martinez Sr. for his many service projects, including holiday and school supply drives; Patricia Prosser for her efforts as a middle school principal and longtime educator; and Shane Walker for helping people experiencing homelessness.
For the full list of Stars finalists and winners, plus Hometown Hero interviews, read the “Stars of the Banner” publication online at BayToBayNews.com/Dorchester/SpecialSections.