The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Local News

May 24, 2012

Event celebrates volunteers, tourist attractions

CLINTON — Area volunteers and tourist attractions were honored Wednesday evening and encouraged to toot their own horns.

Ten different attractions, groups or events were honored during the 2012 Toot Your Own Horn event held by the Convention and Visitors Bureau at Gil’s Ballroom, 2620 Manufacturing Drive. This event has been held since  1996 and coincides with Iowa Tourism Month.

“It’s just our way of honoring our volunteers and giving our attractions a chance to talk about what they do,” CVB Director Marsha Smith said prior to Wednesday’s event.

According to Toot Your Own Horn information, travel and tourism is the eighth largest employer in Iowa.

In 2010, travelers in Iowa generated enough state and local sales tax revenue to pay for the salaries of all firefighters, police officers and sheriffs in Iowa, according to information shared at the event.

The Showboat Players provided entertainment before the ceremony and attendees were given a chance to briefly tell about their event or attraction. Smith was pleased with the turnout for the event. Approximately 70 people attended.

Tom Dithmart, from the Local Awareness Committee of the CVB Board, presented the awards. Wide River Winery was presented the 2011 Friend of Tourism award for its work to become a “destination spot in Clinton with events and live entertainment as well as a part of the Iowa Wine Trail.

The Community Attraction of the Year award was given to the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre. Dithmart said that the theater attracts visitors from all around the area who want to be entertained by talented performers without having to deal with big-city traffic.

The Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center was given the 2011 Project in Progress Award. The center was “started with the hope of educating and providing a history of the river to tourists as well as residents from our area,” said Dithmart. He added that the committee is excited about the future for the center.

The 2011 Special Recognition award was given to the Jaycees Fourth of July Event. Dithmart said that it has been a tradition in Clinton for the Jaycees to host a carnival during the July 4 holiday. They were recognized for their long history and thanked for continuing to support the community.

The Lyons Business and Professional Association was honored with the 2011 Service to the Community award for recognizing the success of working together as a community and as professionals. The organization was thanked for putting a spotlight on the Lyons District.

The Lumberjack Festival was given the 2011 New Event of the Year Award. This event was held on the grounds of the Sawmill Museum and almost 40 lumberjacks competed.

Two area individuals were honored with 2011 Volunteer of the Year awards. Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters Mick Welding was presented with the award for his work in the organization, as well as other Clinton groups. He is also involved in United Way, the River Bluff Community Foundation board and the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Bureau Board of Directors.

The second  award was presented to Dave Maze, who served as the president of the Camanche Days committee in 2005 and 2011. Dithmart thanked him for being fundamental in keeping Camanche Days going.

The CVB presented two Community Event of the Year awards.

The B-rrry Scurry received one of the awards. Dithmart thanked the 14 members of the committee for their commitment to this event. Camanche Days was presented the second award for providing so much to do at the four-day festival. The committee donates to local charities and non-profit organizations and gives two college scholarships with funds collected during the festival.

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