Posts Tagged ‘yuma visitors bureau’

15th July
2011
written by clothcutter

Top tourism award goes to Yuma Lettuce Days
July 14, 2011 7:26 PM BY CHRIS McDANIEL – SUN STAFF WRITER
Yuma Lettuce Days is now truly the cream of the crop.

The longtime Yuma event, transformed this year to reflect Yuma’s agricultural roots, was chosen as Arizona’s best special event for 2010-11 and honored with the Governor’s Tourism Award Thursday during a ceremony in Scottsdale.

Yuma Lettuce Days now rubs elbows with past winners such as the NBA All-Star Game, Cactus League Baseball and the Fiesta Bowl Festival of College Football.

The award was accepted by Susan Sternitzke and Kristan Sheppeard of the Yuma Visitors Bureau, organizer of the 2011 Lettuce Days 2011, from Sherry Henry, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism, at the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Wow what an unbelievable honor, said Sheppeard, who as director of YVB’s new agritourism division took the lead in Lettuce Days planning and execution.

We’re just thrilled, said Sternitzke, YVB executive director. Yuma earned so much positive media and recognition in the last year. We’re looking at this as just the first salvo of new attention and recognition of what we have to offer.

Yuma Lettuce Days was chosen out of a statewide pool of competitors in the Urban category. The festival competed against events held in other areas with a population of 75,000 or more, including those in metro Phoenix and Tucson.

Though we knew we were among the finalists, when I looked at the list of past winners in the program at lunch, I figured we didn’t really have a chance, Sheppeard said.

This is just amazing, especially considering all the great events that take place every year across Arizona.

Sheppeard attributed the success to the shift of Lettuce Days away from just being just another arts and crafts fair, and back to focusing on Yuma’s agriculture.

All the changes we made to Yuma Lettuce Days this year were intended to give it a new and distinct identity ” I guess this award is evidence that we achieved that and took it to a new level in terms of attracting people from outside of Yuma and outside Arizona.

Plus, the strong support we got from Yuma agriculture community and the shippers and packers was really important.

Lettuce Days is expected to become a yearly tradition in its current form, Sheppeard added.

Our goal is to make Lettuce Days a signature event for our area, like the Garlic Festival is for Gilroy (Calif.). This award will give a big boost to our efforts to promote Lettuce Days as a great showcase for the whole Yuma area and our fantastic agriculture industry.

This event would not have been possible without both the ag community which includes growers, shippers, Yuma Safe Produce Council, Yuma Area Ag Council and really the entire industry ” and the amazing culinary experts, which includes all of the talented executive chefs that offered their culinary expertise for the entire festival.

Yuma was last honored with a Governor’s Tourism Award in 2009, when the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area earned the annual Arizona Preservation Award for its master plan redevelopment programs.

Sternitzke, Sheppeard and Ann Walker represented Yuma at the tourism conference, along with Tina Clark from the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.

It’s been great, Sternitzke said. Everyone we talk to is giving such positive feedback, it’s nice to see that Yuma’s hard work is not going unnoticed.

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