The finalists for the 2016 Henry Awards have been announced. According to the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, “the Henry Awards Ceremony began at the 7th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism in 1981 and has become an important part of this gathering of tourism leaders and one of the most prestigious tourism industry awards in Arkansas.”
The winners will be revealed at the 42nd Annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism to be held in Springdale at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center March 13-15. The awards ceremony will take place during the Governor’s Banquet on Tuesday, March 15, at noon. The Henry Awards honor Henri de Tonti, the man historians consider to be among the first “Arkansas Travelers.”
During the Henry Awards ceremonies, the Tourism Person of the Year will also be announced. Selected by former honorees, the Tourism Person of the Year Award is presented annually to an individual who has been actively involved in tourism and who has made a substantial contribution, within the past year, to the betterment of the tourism industry as a whole. Former honorees include Jim Gaston, Montine McNulty, Skip Rutherford, Steve Arrison, Shelby Woods, Wayne Woods and most recently in 2015 Troy Keeping.
The awards and respective finalists are:
The Media Support Award, which is presented annually to a distinguished individual or organization for extraordinary attention to and/or support of Arkansas’s tourism industry through the use of media.
• Arkansas Life, Little Rock
• Fort Smith Radio Group, Fort Smith
• Show with No Name, Little Rock
The Bootstrap Award, which is presented annually to an individual, organization, or community that has achieved significant success “on a shoestring,” having limited means to work with, either in resources or finances.
• Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce, Marshall
• Historic Arkansas Museum’s Nog-Off, Little Rock
• Tyronza Stars & Stripes Festival, Tyronza
The Arkansas Heritage Award, which is presented annually to an individual, organization or community that has made a significant contribution toward the preservation of some aspect of Arkansas’s natural, cultural or aesthetic legacy.
• Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission, Little Rock
• City of Marion
• The Walmart Museum, Bentonville
The Grand Old Classic Special Event Award, which is presented annually to a festival, fair or other special celebration that has “stood the test of time” and become an established example to follow.
• Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival, Warren
• King Biscuit Blues Festival, Helena-West Helena
• Racing Festival of the South, Hot Springs
The Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, which is presented annually to a community, individual or organization that, through outstanding volunteer spirit, has made a substantial contribution to Arkansas’s tourism industry.
• Adam Davis, Mammoth Spring
• Main Street Ozark, Ozark
• Steve Owen, Little Rock
The Community Tourism Development Award, which is presented annually to a community or organization that has achieved substantial success in the enhancement of its local resources through imaginative and innovative development efforts.
• City of Fairfield Bay
• Siloam Springs Kayak Park, Siloam Springs
• The Fort Smith “Dream Team,” Fort Smith
The Natural State Award, which is presented annually to a community, organization, special event or attraction that “stands out in the crowd” because of its unique appeal, media coverage, creative approach and/or enhancement of community pride, thus benefiting the state’s quality of life.
• Esse Purse Museum, Little Rock
• Razorback Regional Greenway, Northwest Arkansas
• South Arkansas Arts Center, El Dorado