Welcome to the Charleston City Paper’s annual Best of Charleston issue. But before we get to the winners, please give us a chance to apologize. We realize that some of you out there are scared to death of clowns. In fact, you’re probably sweating right now as you read this. Heck, you might have even checked your pulse a few times. And for that, we’re dreadfully sorry (oh and breathe deep, friend, breathe deep). Right now, you can either close this week’s issue and never look at it again — although you’ll have a difficult time escaping it since it’ll be on racks all around town — or you can just slip on a pair of oversized clown shoes and a red rubber nose and try to get over your fear, because, the next hundred-plus pages are jam-packed with clowns. And they’re helping us celebrate this year’s winners, from Best Restaurant to Best Massage Therapist to Best Troublemaker. As usual, we’ve also added a few new categories, like Best Juice Bar and Best Home Security Company. So quit clowning around and get to reading.
Once upon a time, Jack — a young man of humble birth whose ancestors had never quite saved up enough to warrant a family name worth remembering — found himself before the Constable. Sworn to uphold the law in this quaint seaside town, the Constable twisted the corner of his mustache as Jack stood before him, dressed in tattered sackcloth barely fit for a worn-out mare put to pasture, no less a man. — Dustin Waters