Finalists for the Giving Recognition in Tourism (GRIT) Awards were announced Tuesday (April 1). The awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 24, at 6 p.m., at MovieLounge on Rogers Avenue in Fort Smith. The awards are given in honor of contributions to the local tourism and hospitality industry by the Fort Smith Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Nominees, by category, for the GRIT awards are (in no particular order):
Restaurant Partner of the Year:
River City Deli
Varsity Sports Grill
Lodging Partner of the Year:
Courtyard by Marriott
Holiday Inn City Center
Homewood Suites by Hilton
Attraction Partner of the Year:
Chaffee Crossing Historic District
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Janet Huckabee Arkansas River Valley Nature Center
Business Partner of the Year:
Belle Star Antiques
Brick City Emporium
E-Fort Smith Magazine
Polly Crews Hospitality Person of the Year:
Floyd and Sue Robinson
John Bell Jr.
Last year's Hometown Hospitality Heroes will also be recognized. According to a press release, recipients of the HHH include Sharon Chapman and Melissa Schoenfeld for their work and assistance with the Regional Dance American Southwest Festival 2013; Bill Hollenbeck for his work on the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association Convention for 2013; Brooke Shock and Courtney Shreve, for their work on the Konsplosion Anime Convention and Mike Alsup, for his work on bringing the Arkansas Recreation and Parks Association and Arkansas Therapeutic Recreation Society Convention to Fort Smith for the last three out of five years.