Many Brainerd lakes area resorts and their tourism and social media efforts not only were nominated, but were awarded with some of the top honors outside the metro area at the tourism industry's Best of Awards held March 31 at Aria in Minneapolis.

All awards are decided by Reader's Choice for the Minnesota Meetings + Events Magazine Best of the Industry Award winners and are highlighted in the publication's spring Issue.

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"It is such an honor to be nominated in so many categories on our 100th anniversary year," Frank Soukup, director of marketing of Grand View Lodge, said in a news release. "Plus the Brainerd lakes area was definitely represented well with our friends and neighbors up for awards as well."

Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, Deerwood; Madden's on Gull Lake; Nisswa City of Lights Celebration & Holiday Fireworks; Brainerd Floral; Petals & Beans, Nisswa; Arrowwood Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, Baxter; Breezy Point Resort; and Explore Brainerd Lakes were all up for awards.

Grand View Lodge won two of the three awards it was nominated for, including Best Resort with Meetings/Event Space and Best Social Media Presence.

"It's great taking the Best Resort and Social Media awards," Soukup said. "We have been building our social media channels for over six years with over 70,000 followers on all our Facebook pages - and that doesn't even count our Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest followers. It's truly a great testament."

Also taking home awards were Madden's Resort for Best Golf Venue, beating out Hazeltine National Golf Club and Grand View Lodge; Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge winning Best Historic Venue; and Breezy Belle won Best Boats/Cruises/Charters.

"We are honored to win an award that recognizes us as a favorite destination golf resort," Abbey Piper, vice president of Madden's on Gull Lake, said in a news release.

Madden's on Gull Lake opens for the 2016 season on April 22. The family-owned and operated resort will kick off its 87th season with its annual opening party celebration April 22-24. Madden's will open 40 percent new following severe storms that impacted the Brainerd lakes area last summer. The new construction will provide new guest accommodations, meeting/event space and more.