The 10th anniversary of the Waldo County Best of the Best Business Showcase and Gala was marked with giveaways, food, music and colorful displays.

The May 18 event at University of Maine Hutchinson Center also boasted a new feature: Business of the Year, which was awarded to Tidewater Oil.

Owners Matt and Michele Porter publicly thanked local residents for voting on the business website at tidewateroil.net.

"We would like to thank everyone who took time to vote for us this year," the statement reads. "We are excited to announce that for the second year in a row we have been voted the best heating company in Waldo County! On top of that we have also been voted the Business of the Year!!! Thank you so much for your support.  We love what we do, the people we work with and most importantly our customers who continue to support us!"

Tidewater Oil is based in Belfast and was established in 2006 as a heating oil delivery and service company. A propane division was added in 2015.

The business showcase and gala began 10 years ago as a joint fundraiser for scholarship funds at the Hutchinson Center. Past events have raised a total of more than $55,000 for Waldo County students aspiring to higher education, according to Hutchinson Center Director Patricia Libby. That money, raised through annual auctions at Hutchinson Center for the past nine years, has helped 48 students, she said.

“It's just a really fantastic partnership,” Libby said.

She noted the business showcase allows exposure to new and old businesses as well as “having the ulterior motive to fundraise for the scholarships.”

“The goal of the evening is to raise money for students in Waldo County to further their education,” Libby said.

Many scholarships are granted to first-time students but others are awarded to students in degree programs who are experiencing financial hardship.

“It's a scholarship that clearly benefits the students of this county when it comes to education,” Libby said. “Every single dollar that's raised goes to students.”

Funds raised for the Best of the Best scholarship are pooled under the larger Hutchinson Center Scholarship Program, Libby said.

In recent years, the business showcase and auction gala have taken place in August but this year returned to May. The silent auction this year raised nearly $7,000 for the scholarship fund, according to early totals.