Owatonna had the most votes in online balloting for the inaugural Minnesota Monthly Best Minnesota Town contest. While winning in a bit of a landslide, it still only represents a quarter of the overall calculation in the naming of the winner of the contest. The contest page reports Owatonna had 22,000 more votes than second place Bemidji. Voting began September 18 and concluded October 13.

  1. Owatonna 95,871
  2. Bemidji 73,003
  3. Waconia 70,003
  4. Hopkins 44,678
  5. Austin 30,660
  6. Walker 14,257
  7. St. Cloud 11,838
  8. New Ulm 9,395
  9. Grand Marais 5,264
  10. Duluth 4,846

The page indicates the rest of the score will come from evaluation of each town's application by a panel of judges. Notification on which towns are in the top five comes November 2. The winning community will be recognized on November 30 during the Best of Minnesota Extravaganza The winning community receives a $50,000 advertising campaign through Minnesota Monthly and a governor's proclamation.

In their weekly email newsletter update, the Owatonna Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism says, "Thank you to everyone who voted for Owatonna in the Best Minnesota Town competition over the past month...Keep an eye on the Tuesday Talk (newsletter) and the Visit Owatonna Facebook page for results."