With nearly 200 nominations from the public, the Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau has chosen finalists for the 2018 Giving Recognition in Tourism (GRIT) Awards.
The annual awards banquet will be held at the Fort Smith Convention Center (Hall C) 5:30 p.m. April 12.
The event is hosted by the bureau “to honor individuals and organizations that have demonstrated true grit through their contributions to the region’s growing tourism and hospitality industry,” a news release states.
The 2018 GRIT Awards finalists are:
Lodging Partner of the Year — DoubleTree by Hilton Fort Smith City Center, Hampton Inn Fort Smith, Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Fort Smith, Holiday Inn Express, Homewood Suites by Hilton
Attraction Partner of the Year — Fort Smith Regional Art Museum, Indian Territory Pistoliers & Fort Smith Trolley, The Sound Room, Fort Smith Museum of History
Restaurant Partner of the Year — Rolando’s Nuevo Latino Restaurante, Savoy Tea Company, Bricktown Brewery, La Huerta Grill on Garrison
Business Partner of the Year — CyberSpyder Inc., Weldon, Williams & Lick, First National Bank of Fort Smith, Arvest Bank (Downtown)
Polly Crews Hospitality Person of the Year — Pam Kelly, Patrick Charlton
Fort Smith Bicentennial Committee — Daleana Vaughan
During the event, the Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau will also celebrate the 2018 Hometown Hospitality Heroes who have “greatly assisted with the CVB’s tourism and hospitality efforts in some way and/or played a critical role in bringing large conventions, meetings and other events to the city of Fort Smith,” the release adds.
The New Horizons Award — first presented at the 2017 awards banquet — will be awarded to one of five nominees who have been individually selected by each member of the Fort Smith Convention and Visitors Bureau staff.
“These nominees reflect businesses, organizations and/or individuals who have opened up new opportunities for the CVB to promote Fort Smith as a desirable tourism destination and secure business from convention and meeting planners,” the release noted.
The nominees for the New Horizons Award will be voted on by the Fort Smith Advertising & Promotions Commission. They will then forward their selections on to Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders. On the night of the event, Sanders will present the award to the winner.
This finalists for the New Horizons Award, in no particular order are: Riverfront Bike & Skate Park, Fort Smith Park Fishing Pavilion, Mad Possum Productions, 5 Tribes Culture Festival and Temple Live.
The public can vote for their preferred nominee until midnight April 8, at FortSmithGRIT.com. Finalists will each receive two tickets to the awards banquet. Additional tickets can be purchased in advance for $25 each at Miss Laura’s Visitor Center located at Two N. B. St. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the night of the event for $30.
Attendees are asked to RSVP at Amy.Jones@FortSmithAR.gov, or by calling (479) 783-8888.