El Dorado was the big winner in the 2018 Henry Awards presented by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
Madison Murphy, El Dorado native and former board chairman of Murphy Oil, was named Arkansas’ Tourism Person of the Year for his financial support of the Murphy Arts District (MAD) in El Dorado.
Murphy is board chairman Murphy USA and was instrumental in the creation of the Murphy Arts District, known as MAD, in El Dorado. The new arts and entertainment district includes an outdoor amphitheater, farm-to-table restaurant, and music hall. He is also a founding member of El Dorado Festivals and Events, which gave rise to the project.
The district also received the The Natural State Award. The outdoor amphitheater hosts large festivals and events for over 7,000 people with market pavilions for seasonal farmers markets, and the largest park in the city.
The awards were presented Tuesday night during the 44th annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism held in West Memphis.
The Henry Awards have been a feature of the annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism since their debut in 1981. The awards are named for Henri de Tonti, founder of Arkansas Post in 1686, and who is often hailed as the first “Arkansas Traveler.”
Following are the other Henry Award winners.
• Media Support Award: AY Magazine, Little Rock
• Bootstrap Award: Visit Hot Springs and 61 Celsius
• Arkansas Heritage Award: Wilson (Town of Wilson and the Lawrence Group)
• Grand Old Classic Special Event Award: Warfield Concerts, Helena-West Helena
• Outstanding Volunteer Service Award: Keep Arkansas Beautiful, Little Rock
• Community Tourism Development Award: Batesville (Main Street Batesville, Batesville Chamber of Commerce, City of Batesville)