Calaveras Innovations in Tourism Winners

The Calaveras Visitors Bureau (CVB) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 Innovations in Tourism Awards, revealed at the CVB’s Annual Dinner at the The Pickle Patch in San Andreas on October 11, 2018.

2018 Innovations in Tourism winners
Conrad Levasseur & Billy Cohen accept the top award

Each year, the Calaveras Visitors Bureau nominates businesses in 7 different categories to publicly acknowledge outstanding local businesses that have gone above and beyond to attract visitors to Calaveras through new or unique ideas, products or services. The slideshow below shows each business nominated in the following categories:

Attraction • Event • Lodging • Recreation • Restaurant • Retail • Wedding/Event Venue • Winery

Electronic ballots are sent out to tourism and business leaders in the county. The overall winner is the business that receives the highest number of votes for any category. See the full list of winners below:

2018 Innovations in Tourism Winners

  • Attraction and Overall Winner – Ironstone Amphitheatre & Richter Entertainment Group – co-nominated for investing significant capital in renovating the Ironstone Amphitheatre venue to accommodate larger tours than ever before as well as for expanding visitor offerings to include the new VIP lounge experience. In addition, they are providing more opportunities than ever before for local businesses to engage concert attendees through VIP sponsorships; increasing social media engagement during events through the use of free giveaways, Instagram stories and fun activities engaging with, and highlighting, in-person attendees.
  • Event – Whiskey Slide Productions – for innovations in community building through not only working with local organizations to create and/or promote diverse musical events and one of a kind experiences around the county, but also for their exceptional efforts in bringing Rolling Stone’s celebrated musician Jason Eady back to Calaveras to perform his single “Calaveras County” at “A Night with Eady.”
  • Lodging – Hotel Léger – for attracting more overnight travel to Mokelumne Hill through innovative events such as their annual Backyard Blues and BBQ series, which frequently brings travelers from wide and far to enjoy the event, hotel, and all that Mokelumne Hill has to offer in an enhanced and lively atmosphere.
  • Recreation – New Melones Lake Marina – for collaborating with wakeboarding brand Hyperlite Wakeboards to create a demonstration day that not only brought opportunities for locals and visitors to purchase discounted goods, but also brought professionals to the area for visitors to enjoy wake surf and wake board performances as well as providing a chance to ask questions to increase future usage of the New Melones Lake Marina.
  • Restaurant – Murphys Pourhouse – for their ongoing innovative approach to community collaboration and on trend high-demand events, such as hosting an outdoor family friendly trivia night promoting random trivia as well as knowledge of the surrounding area and it’s many offerings, hosting Summer’s End Art Walk featuring a gathering of creators, makers, and performers, as well as for expanding their lunch menu to include additional vegetarian and vegan offerings using seasonally available ingredients sourced from Calaveras farmers.
  • Retail – Julie Douglas – not only for her Crafty Chicks Roadshow events (whose last incarnation featured approximately 80 makers, a mimosa bar, food trucks, live music, photo booth and a raffle benefiting the local Angels Camp Community Club), but also for her innovative work in renovating and promoting the popular Angels Camp Farmers Market in part by bringing in new vendors, makers, and eclectic food truck operators nearly every week.
  • Wedding / Event Venue – The Farm – for scaling up their business from furnishing flowers for weddings and events from their beautiful grounds to becoming a venue for weddings, events, and photography sessions in and of themselves. Hosting events such as the 2018 Solstice Gathering, The Farm collaborates with local makers, artists and artisans to create generating on trend (and therefore super-Instagrammable) media for further promoting the region and all there is to see and do when visiting their venue.
  • Winery –Renegade Winery – for maintaining a thriving hub of festivities through their weekly outdoor events, expanded restaurant hours, and for capturing a more diverse crowd by offering beer on tap in addition to their local wine.
CVB Annual Dinner
2018 Awards Dinner | Photo: Dakota Morlan, Calaveras Enterprise

The History of the Innovations in Tourism Awards

Launched in 2006, the Calaveras Visitors Bureau’s Innovations in Tourism Awards originally consisted of one nominated business by the CVB’s Board of Directors. In 2013, with a new executive director at the helm, the program was expanded to recognize businesses in 6 different categories, because as Executive Director, Lisa Boulton says:

Keeping a pulse on the local tourism industry demonstrated that a huge amount of innovation was occurring in Calaveras County… far more than could adequately be reflected with a single award. The Board decided that an expansion was in order, and the expanded program has been a major part of the CVB’s annual dinner ever since.

Plans are under way to increase the awarded categories by one to tie into the CVB’s Hop Lightly tourism sustainability program. The new category for 2019 is “Sustainability,” taking the awarded categories up to a total of 9, plus one overall winner. Local tourism related businesses are invited to let the CVB know of their green or sustainable business initiatives to be eligible to win in this category.

Winners of the Innovations in Tourism Awards Get More Goodies

CVB Innovations in Tourism Awards trophy
Overall Winner trophy
  • Public recognition at the CVB Annual Dinner
  • A handsome star trophy from the CVB (the grand winner receives a larger, shooting star trophy)
  • A certificate of recognition by California State Legislature (presented by a representative from the State Assembly)
  • A digital decal that can be used in each winner’s online and print advertising and promotions
  • Designation as a county innovator on all of the business’ listings on the CVB website
  • Addition to the list of winners on the Innovations in Tourism web page
  • Featured listing in a full page ad on the Innovations in Tourism Awards in the Calaveras Visitors Guide
Calaveras Visitors Bureau Annual Dinner
CVB Annual Dinner, Pickle Patch | Photo: Dakota Morlan, Calaveras Enterprise