VENICE — They may need a year to recover from all the fun.

More than 300 people representing dozens of Venice-area businesses attended the 26th annual Best of Venice awards banquet Saturday at Plantation Golf & Country Club, presented by the Venice Gondolier.

Reflections In Gold was the big winner for 2019. The venerable South Venice jewelry store was named Business of the Year.

“This award means so much to me right now,” said Tony Maggio, vice president and an owner of Reflections In Gold, who has taken over the family business. “It gives me more confidence going into 2020.”

Gulfside Mortgage Services won the coveted Spirit Award (and a large trophy), in recognition of its attendees’ enthusiasm throughout the night in the pep rally-style event. Winners were chosen by Gondolier readers.

It was the largest attendance ever for the event. Winners and finalists were recognized in 218 categories, from Automotive to Real Estate.

Carol Y. Moore, multimedia sales manager for the Venice Gondolier, and Omar Zucco, regional advertising director for the Sun Coast Media Group, announced the winners.

The honorees represented the businesses — many family owned — who wake up early every morning hoping to make Venice a fun place to shop, dine or play, from auto mechanics and barber shops to restaurants and Realtors. But they also represented many essential services, including cardiologists and assisted living facilities.

Readers determined that AAMCO Transmission & Total Car Care is a good place to get your domestic vehicle repaired while Pit Stop Auto Repair Shop is the place to go for an oil change.

Anthony’s Barber Shop was a winner in its category while readers preferred James Griffith Salon for a different experience.

Restaurant offerings in Venice have improved during the past 20 years, particularly along West Venice Avenue.

Fins at Sharky’s was named best restaurant in town. Many others were honored, including those whose names represented their categories, such as Café Bagel, Gold Rush BBQ, BrewBurgers of Venice and Black Gold Coffee Roasters.

With an average age of about 68, Venice residents know their health care options and they voted for their favorites.

Art of Acupuncture got a nod, as did Take Care Private Duty Home Health Care, Village On The Isle, Venice Regional Bayfront Health and Rice Family Chiropractic, among others.

Readers interested in home improvement selected Hill’s Kitchen & Bath Creations as the best cabinet shop in town. If you want new tile under those cabinets, they recommend that you try Showplace Floors.

If you are selling your home, or buying one in Venice, readers say you should call Exit King Realty or Gulf Shores Realty. Gulfside Mortgage Services got the nod in its category.

Venice is known for recreational opportunities. Readers showed their support for a bevy of them by naming as winners in their respective categories Bicycles International, Venice Theatre, Cooks Sportsland, Inc. and Freedom Boat Club — Venice.

Favorite golf courses are Pelican Point Golf and Country Club (private) and Waterford Golf Club (public).

Shoppers in the audience clapped for the retail stores that voters like. Readers honored Jessup’s Major Appliance Center, Venice Art Center, Books-A-Million and SunBug, among others.

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