March 27, 2013 Edition

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Tickets available for tourism
banquet at Mallard Lodge

Tickets are now available for the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council's annual banquet, which will be held April 11 at 6 p.m. at the Stan Jones Mallard Lodge near Hoxie.

Tickets for the casual event are $25 and can be purchased at the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce or The Times Dispatch in Walnut Ridge.

Charles Snapp, a member of the Ozark Gateway Tourist Council and the Lawrence County Tourism Committee, said there are a limited number of tables for 10 that can be reserved for $250.

Other members of the council from Lawrence County are Dr. Brett Cooper and Randall Watts. The council encompasses Fulton, Jackson, Independence, Izard, Lawrence, Randolph and Sharp counties.

At the banquet, the group will celebrate the year's achievements and hear from featured speaker Danny Ford, who is commissioner with the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

TD finalist for award

Two awards will be presented at the banquet: The Tom Biggs Award for outstanding work in developing tourism and the Media Award for publicity of tourism- related endeavors.

Finalists for the Biggs Award include Mammoth Spring Mayor Jean Pace, Gloria Gushue of Calico Rock and Mike Cone of Melbourne.

Media Award finalists include The Times Dispatch, the Newport Independent and W.R.D. Entertainment of Batesville.

The banquet marks the first time for the annual event to be held in Lawrence County, according to Cathy Drew, executive director of Ozark Gateway Tourist Council.

"Tourism development is on fire in Lawrence County right now and that is great for our entire region. It's exciting to have our banquet at a place where so much is happening," Drew said.

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce tourism committee and Downtown Walnut Ridge organization recently won a Henry Award from the parks and tourism department for their work developing Beatles Park and Guitar Walk at Cavenaugh Park. Both attractions have opened in the past two years.

Stan Jones Mallard Lodge, which is hosting the Ozark Gateway banquet, also opened in recent months. The expansive lodge is located south of Hoxie, near the Clover Bend community. It will be open for tours before and after the banquet.

Tickets can also be reserved by leaving a message with the Ozark Gateway Region at 800-264-0316.

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