Shipshewana-based Blue Gate Hospitality founder Mel Riegsecker is the recipient of this year's Will Koch Indiana Tourism Leadership Award. He received the state's highest tourism honor as part of the annual Hoosier Hospitality Awards at the Indiana State Fair.
Blue Gate includes a restaurant, theater, inn and event center. In all, Blue Gate Hospitality hosts more than half of a million visitors every year. Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch says Riegsecker "helped shape Shipshewana's tourism profile." For his part, Riegsecker calls the award a "tremendous honor," and shares credit with his wife and others.
The award is named for long-time owner and president of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Will Koch. The winner is chosen by an eight-member panel including representatives from Grow INdiana Media Ventures, the Indiana State Fair, Holiday World & Splashin' Safari, Purdue University and the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association.
The 2017 Hoosier Hospitality Award winners include (by name, organization, county)
Patricia Badgley, Hampton Inn & Suites, Howard Anne Beach, French Lick Resort, Orange Tiffany Conrad, Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site, Noble Christine Flohr, Visit Wabash County, Wabash Dave Fox, Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site, Noble Diane Gordon, Horseshoe Hammond, Lake Christy Heavilon, Hampton Inn & Suites, Howard Tray Heinke, Indiana Caverns, Harrison Doug Huff, Oasis Diner, Hendricks Mary Huggard, Visit Indy, Marion Sasha Krebs, The Country Shops of Grabill, Allen Maureen Lambert, Anderson/Madison County Visitors Bureau, Madison Grace Liang, Horseshoe - Hammond, Lake Daniel Orr, FARMbloomington, Monroe Jan Tellstrom, French Lick Resort, Orange Marsha Tellstrom, West Baden Springs Hotel, Orange Dyan Wheeler-Quilter, Lake County Parks Department, Lake Henry Wilhite, Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari, Spencer Opportunity Enterprises Cleaning Crew, Indiana Dunes Visitor Center, Porter
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