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Explore Fairbanks recognizes local visitor industry at 2017 Annual Awards Banquet


Fairbanks, Alaska (AK) – Explore Fairbanks acknowledged the contributions of partners and other individuals and organizations for their support of the local visitor industry at the 2017 Annual Awards Banquet on April 21 at Raven Landing Center.


Awards were presented as follows: Golden Heart Award to the Alaska Federation of Natives Welcome/Fairbanks Four Potlatch organizing committee, represented by Melissa Charlie, Tonya Garnett, Doreen Deaton and Carole-Ann Newcomer, for their exceptional hospitality, commitment and effort to Fairbanks’ visitors; Aurora Award to the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, for its contributions to the development of the Fairbanks visitor industry; Jim and Mary Binkley Award to Trax Outdoor Center, for their creation, innovation, courage and entrepreneurialism in the introduction of a new attraction; and the Raven Award to Downtown Association of Fairbanks, for promoting a distinct local, statewide, national and international interest and awareness among prospective visitors.


Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly Presiding Officer Kathryn Dodge read a citation from the Alaska State Legislature that honored Explore Fairbanks’ 40th anniversary. The recognition was introduced by Representatives Scott Kawasaki and Steve Thompson for legislative approval on March 22, 2017.


In honor of the anniversary, Explore Fairbanks established the Fairbanks Tourism Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding individuals that have made iconic and significant contributions to the tourism industry in the Fairbanks region through their lifetime of leadership, passion and dedication. The first inductees into the hall of fame were Mary and the late Captain Jim Binkley, Riverboat Discovery; Mary Shields, Alaskan Tails of the Trail with Mary Shields; and Jack and Ede Reisland, Denali Grizzly Bear Resort.


Janette Hanneman and Karen Lane were given Golden Heart Greeter of the Year Awards for dedicating themselves to helping make a visitor’s experience special and memorable. Staff service awards included Iwalani Lauver for five years of service.


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