Cartersville, Georgia – In its annual ceremony to recognize the businesses, organizations and people who make our community appealing to visitors, the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau presented the 2022 Hospitality Hero Awards and the highly-coveted People’s Choice Awards. The ceremony was open to the public at the Arts Festival at Rose Lawn, and was under the direction of CVB Board Member Adena Harper, with fellow CVB Board Member Jane Drew, and new CVB President Steven Schumacher assisting.
The Kordecki Award for Contribution to the Arts is chosen by the Cartersville-Bartow County Cultural Arts Alliance and its honorees have fostered the arts and shared their talents with this community, making our culture richer and more alluring to all. The 2022 recipient was Leslie McCrary Owens, who has served as the alliance Executive Director, and has directed plays for both the Pumphouse Players, and her own venture StageWorks Theatre Company which she formed alongside her late husband Dale. Today, she and husband Jim Owens are photographers who divide their time between Cartersville and Montana. Owens credits the award’s namesake Don Kordecki as her mentor in developing her passion for theatre and directing.
The Grant Award for Community Service was presented to James Jarrett, a leader in his field, but also in his community. Jarrett has served Shaw Industries Commercial Manufacturing Operations for 30 years and during that time has brought many educational opportunities to the Shaw workforce and community at large. He has served on the boards of the North Metro College Foundation, the Etowah Foundation, Georgia Highlands Foundation, and the Cartersville City School Board. Matching his commitment to education is his desire for bringing good jobs to Bartow County, by serving as Chairman of the Cartersville-Bartow Joint Industrial Development Authority and on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Jarrett’s charitable endeavors include service on the boards of the Cartersville-Bartow Community Foundation and the United Way of Bartow County, and serving with in the US Navy Reserves.
The Bentley Award for Tourism Product Development honors individuals or businesses who develop experiences in our community that make an immediate impact on tourism. This year’s recipients have created many experiences that people love to share by creating delicious meals and menus that attract visitors from across north Georgia, Atlanta and beyond. Honored for their superb restaurant developments were Jackie and Andrea Wallace. The duo has been a mainstay of Cartersville’s downtown dining scene for more than two decades, which is an anomaly in today’s business community. Their restaurants, Appalachian Grill and Ate Track Bar & Grill are perennial favorites; while many anxiously await the return of The Bridge House Café. The Wallace’s restaurants are consistently ranked in the top three Cartersville restaurants on TripAdvisor.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was awarded posthumously to Frank Bergman, whose design credits include the Booth Western Art Museum, Tellus Science Museum, Bartow History Museum, and Savoy Automobile. Bergman’s son Christian, was on hand to accept the award for his father who spent a lifetime in the Cartersville community that he so proudly called home.
The 2022 Shining Star Award, which honors individuals or organizations whose achievements casts a favorable light on our community at a statewide or national level, was aptly presented to the Bartow County Junior Little League Team which captured the 2022 State Championship Title in July. The tournament featured two rounds of play against West Pont, Elberton, and Athens, where Bartow outscored their opponents 70-6, with all games won by mercy rule. “Since moving to Little League, this is the 1st title for Bartow County Little League Baseball, and we are so proud to be a part of this accomplishment,” said Harper. Team members include Isaac Burnett, Hudson Parr, Barrett Fuller, Landon Cassidy, Harrison Cole, Dutch Hernandez, Lyle Woody, Elisha Moore, Zaylen Cochran, Tyler Parker, Hunter Dudley, Brylon Reynolds, and Rylan Spivey; and coaches Mike Burnett, Nick Parr, and Todd Fuller.
This year’s recipient of Distinguished Volunteer Award goes not to one individual but to an organization of 1,200 members – all distinguished volunteers – that celebrated its 50th Anniversary this year. The Etowah Valley Historical Society is dedicated to preserving Bartow County’s uniquely rich heritage and fostering a love for history with numerous programs and special events for members and non-members. “The society’s work provides a valuable resource and foundation for our community as a destination,” commented Harper, as the award was accepted by EVHS Co-Presidents Dianne Tate and Joanne Smith.
The 2022 People’s Choice Awards for the Best Attraction, Best Restaurant and Best Shoppe in Bartow County. The awards were fan-voted online at VistiCartersvilleGA.org. Tellus Science Museum was voted Best Attraction with 32% of the vote. Overall, more than 50 attractions received community love. Tellus’ devoted fans gushed about meeting Glenn Burns there and said the museum “Expands family’s horizons,” and has “great hands-on activities for the grandkids, and lots of photo ops!” Another fan summarized it simply “Dinosaurs Rock!”
The Savoy Automobile Museum, open only nine months at the time of voting, followed closely behind in second place; and Cartersville’s Farmers Market was third.
“In a community blessed with many well-loved restaurants, this year’s winner was lauded by 41% of People’s Choice voters because of their “Amazing dining experience,” said Harper. More than one voter said this restaurant is “a great place to meet friends for a drink and a bite to eat.” Ultimately, it is the “great chef driven menu” that had fans saying “The Corn Skillet! Just try it!” This year’s Best Restaurant recipient was Table 20 Neighborhood Bistro in downtown Cartersville, followed by Maine Street Coastal Cuisine in second and Appalachian Grill in third place.
Once again it was It’s About Time Boutique, ranking at the top for the People’s Choice Best Shoppe. Downtown Cartersville newcomers Southern Cove and Rock-n-Shop earned second and third respectively. This was the 8th consecutive honor to It’s About Time Boutique and the devotion showed in fan comments. One fan said “A true destination. We drive to Cartersville just to shop here,” while another said “I always bring all my relatives here when I want to show off Cartersville.” And another lovingly noted “When they transform the store for Christmas it is something magical.”