May 12, 2016
Harvester earns tourism award from ‘Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge’

(via The Franklin News Post)

The Town of Rocky Mount is celebrating another major award for its Harvester Performance Center.

The Roanoke Convention & Visitors Bureau, now known as Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, named the Harvester its Golden Star Award winner at the CVB’s annual dinner in April.

The award, presented by CVB chairman Lee Wilhelm, honors the Harvester for “outstanding efforts and contributions to the growth and development of the tourism industry in the Roanoke Valley and the economic benefit derived from those efforts.”

Harvester CEO and Rocky Mount Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins accepted the award, one of three awards presented at the dinner. Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vicki Gardner won Tourism Ambassador of the Year.

“This was really an unexpected honor,” Hankins said. “The Harvester and the town appreciate all of our partners, sponsors, staff, volunteers and performance fans who have made the Harvester grow so quickly into a major regional attraction.”

Hankins and his wife, Dulcie, were invited to attend the event by CVB partner Franklin County, represented at the event by county supervisors Bob Camicia, Leland Mitchell and Charles Wagner, County Administrator Brent Robertson, Economic Development Director Michael Burnette and Tourism Director David Rotenizer.

“When the county invited us to attend, I had a feeling something good was going on, but the award still came as a surprise,” Hankins said. “We know the tremendous impact the Harvester has had on restaurants, hotels and retailers, because the town and county have received increased taxes from those activities.”

The CVB award is the latest in a string of awards for the Harvester and the Town of Rocky Mount. Rocky Mount won the Virginia Municipal League’s highest award, the President’s Award, in October 2014 for developing the Harvester. Hankins was named the Virginia Local Government Managers Association 2015 Assistant Manager of the Year for leading the project. The Virginia Economic Developers Association named the project its 2016 Community Economic Development Award winner for small communities. A number of publications have named the Harvester to their “best of” lists, including the Roanoker Magazine and Virginia Living Magazine.