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 2018 Annual Awards Banquet on April 20 at Birch Hill Recreation Area and Cross Country Ski Center.

Awards were presented as follows: Golden Heart Award to Bob Eley, for his exceptional hospitality, commitment and effort to Fairbanks’ visitors; Aurora Award to the Alaska Railroad, for its contributions to the development of the Fairbanks visitor industry; Jim and Mary Binkley Award to Sean Kurdziolek Portraits and Gallery, for their creation, innovation, courage and entrepreneurialism in the introduction of a new product; and the Raven Award to Midnight Sun Run, for promoting a distinct local, statewide, national and international interest and awareness among prospective visitors.

In 2017, Explore Fairbanks established the Fairbanks Tourism Hall of Fame to recognize outstanding individuals who have made iconic and significant contributions to the tourism industry in the Fairbanks region through their lifetime of leadership, passion and dedication. This year’s inductee into the hall of fame was Ed Peebles.

Hilda MacDonald was recognized as the Golden Heart Greeter of the Year Award for dedicating herself to helping make a visitor’s experience special and memorable. Staff service awards included Julia Parzick for five years of service and Angie Cerny for 10 years of service.

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About Explore Fairbanks

Explore Fairbanks is a non-profit marketing and management organization whose mission is to be an economic driver in the Fairbanks region by marketing to potential visitors and optimizing the visitor experience. Explore Fairbanks markets Fairbanks as a year-round destination by promoting local events, attractions and activities to independent travelers, group tour operators, travel agents, meeting planners and the media as well as by developing public policy and infrastructure to achieve marketing objectives. Find out more at explorefairbanks.com.


Charity Gadapee                                                                    Jerry Evans

Director of Visitor Services & Partnership Development       Public Relations Manager

(907) 459-3758                                                                       (907) 459-3779

cgadapee@explorefairbanks.com                                         jevans@explorefairbanks.com