March 14, 2012 Edition

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Richard Davies (right), executive director of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, and Miss Arkansas Kristen Glover (center) congratulate representatives of the Lawrence County Chamber Tourism Committee and Downtown Walnut Ridge on being named a finalist for the Community Tourism Development Award. Those representing the two groups at the Henry Awards Banquet included (from left): Carrie Mae Snapp, Charles Snapp, Fran Cavenaugh, Paula Haskins, Jackie Snapp and Lorra Whitmire.

Downtown WR, Chamber
honored for tourism efforts

Gretchen Hunt
Editor

Lawrence County was well represented at last week's Governor's Conference on Tourism as Downtown Walnut Ridge and the Lawrence County Chamber Tourism Committee were recognized as one of three finalists for the Community Tourism Development Award. They were honored Tuesday of last week in West Memphis.

The Community Tourism Development Award is presented to a community organization that has achieved substantial success toward the enhancement of its local resources through imaginative and innovative development efforts.

Charles and Jackie Snapp attended the three-day conference, which concluded with the annual Henry Awards Banquet on March 6.

"I've attended a lot of conferences over the years, in both the United States and Canada, but I've never seen anything that would compare to this," Charles said. "It was both professionally done and very informative."

He said they learned that tourism is now the second largest industry in the state and discovered some resources offered by the state of which they were not previously aware.

"We are doing a follow-up with some of the people we met, asking for additional information on exactly what marketing resources might be available to us," Charles said.

Joining the Snapps at the banquet were Fran Cavenaugh, Carrie Mae Snapp, Paula Haskins, Lorra Whitmire, Brett Cooper and Sue Gibson.

"We were also honored to have Prosecuting Attorney and Rock 'N' Roll Highway 67 supporter Henry Boyce from Newport, as well as JR Rogers of Walnut Ridge, who led the way as state representative for the legislation that renamed this strip of Highway 67, in attendance," Charles said.

Boyce was among those there representing the Arkansas Rock 'N' Roll Highway 67 Museum in Newport, which was nominated for the Bootstrap Award.

Downtown Walnut Ridge and the Lawrence County Chamber were nominated for their efforts to capitalize on the designation of Rock 'N' Roll Highway 67.

Also nominated were the city of Bentonville for its beautification efforts, and eventual winner Let's Paint Stuttgart, a historic preservation and downtown revitalization volunteer effort.

"Until we attended the event, Jackie and I had not fully understood how much of an honor it was to have been nominated for a Henry Award, much less making it to the final three," Charles said.

Cooper, chair of the Tourism Committee, said the banquet was a great experience.

"The Henry Award nomination was a huge honor, and it tells us that tourism is for real in Lawrence County," he said. "The rest of the state is taking notice of what's going on here."

Charles said the recognition was based on the collective efforts by everyone who has helped with the development and promotion of the tribute to The Beatles' 1964 surprise flight into the Walnut Ridge airport, as well as those who helped with the concert event that was held in September.

Whitmire, who is among the founding members of the Downtown Walnut Ridge organization, said it was especially an honor to be nominated during the early stages of local tourism efforts.

"It is nice to see the efforts of those who are working so hard to revitalize our downtown area recognized," she said.

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