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The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc.'s top annual award is going to the director of the Dickerson Park Zoo.
Mike Crocker is scheduled to be honored April 27 with the Tracy Kimberlin Pinnacle Award, according to a news release. He's one of the honorees for the organization’s 2023 Salute to Travel & Tourism Awards Banquet. The top award is named after recently retired CVB leader Tracy Kimberlin.
Crocker, who has worked at the zoo since 1976, is receiving the Pinnacle Award that recognizes individuals who have long been active in the travel industry and have made substantial contributions to it. He recently completed a book, "True Tales from Dickerson Park Zoo," according to past reporting.
Crocker is slated to retire in February 2024, according to Joey Powell, public relations and marketing director for the zoo.
The other Salute to Travel & Tourism Awards recipients are:
• state Rep. Stephanie Hein, retired head of the Department of Hospitality Leadership at Missouri State University and former CVB board chair, with the Diplomat Award recognizing significant support to the travel industry by a government official, organization or employee;
• the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions with the Ambassador Award for individuals or organizations that have created significant economic impact in tourism;
• Ozarks Lyric Opera Artistic Director Michael Spyres with the Spotlight Award for an individual, business or organization not usually considered part of the travel and tourism industry for noteworthy contributions to it; and
• History Museum on the Square with the Hospitality Award for an attraction, lodging facility or restaurant that demonstrates outstanding hospitality to the traveling public.
The awards banquet is being held at White River Conference Center, according to the release.
Heirloom Candle Bar moved; art supply thrift store Arrow Creative Reuse opened; and Rockford, Illinois-based Beef-A-Roo debuted in Springfield.