Local First Awards Celebrates DC Artisans

by Aaron Royce

Think Local First DC’s annual event recognized local creatives and businesses.

The Local First Awards returned for its second awards ceremony last month. An extension of Think Local First DC, the nonprofit aiming to educate the community on local businesses, the Awards celebrated artisans and their presence in the DC economy. More than 400 showed up in support of creators, who represented a wide array of restaurants, breweries, and businesses selling wares ranging from textiles to home goods.

Photo by Kea Taylor at Imagine Photography.

The ceremony, hosted by ABC7 WJLA’s Sam Ford, rewarded seven recipients out of 35 finalists, all chosen for their positive advocacy of communal equality. After spoken-word poetry by the American Poetry Museum’s Sami Miranda and opening remarks from Mayor Muriel Bowser and Director of Department of Small and Local Business Development Kristi Whitfield, the ceremony garnered 11 awards in total.

Sam Ford emcee’s the second annual Local First Awards. Photo by Kea Taylor at Imagine Photography.

The awards included the DC Maker (Hunny Bunny Boutique), Ripple Effect (Cureate Connect, Spice Suite), High Road (Clean Decisions), Green Thumb (Calabash, Up Top Acres), Builder (Industrial Bank), Pioneer (Dreaming Out Loud), and Community Champion (Glen’s Garden Market) Awards. Special recognitions included Lyft’s Going Places Award, given to the DC Family and Youth Initiative, and the Trailblazer Award, which was given to Stacey Price of Shop Made in DC. The event also broke the previous fundraising record for Think Local First.

Over 400 Washingtonians came together for the Awards. Photo by Kea Taylor at Imagine Photography.

Before and after the Awards, guests perused an on-site Made in DC Marketplace to purchase local products-which included a live painting and interactive art activities with two artists. Beverages were provided by DC Brau, Atlas Brew Works, 3 Stars Brewing Company and Right Proper Brewing Company. Additionally, bites were provided by beloved local eateries like Cava, Sloppy Mama’s, BBQ Bus, Honeyflower Foods and Healthy Fresh Meals.

Nic Bach (left) of Honeyflower Foods at the Local First Awards. Photo by Kea Taylor at Imagine Photography.

The event’s sponsors included Foulger Pratt; DC’s Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development; Link Strategic Partners; DC Department of Small & Local Business Development; DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; District Department Of Transportation; Goldblatt Martin Pozen, LLC; JBG Smith; Pepco; The Ronald Reagan International Trade Center; The Tryst Trading Company and Provoc.

Mayor Muriel Bowser greets a local artisan at the Local First Awards. Photo by Kea Taylor at Imagine Photography.

SPOTTED: Mayor Muriel Bowser, ABC7 WJLA’s Sam Ford, WPGC’s Vildana Puric, Ben’s Chili Bowl’s Virginia Ali, Brightest Young Things’s Svetlana Legetic, Councilmembers Brandon Todd and Charles Allen, At-Large Councilmembers Robert White and Elissa Silverman.

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