The Town of Garner was among 19 North Carolina governments to earn recognition in the fourth annual North Carolina City & County Communicators’ (NC3C) Excellence in Communications Awards, presented recently in Chapel Hill as part of the organization’s annual spring conference.
Garner received a first-place award in the category of Most Creative Activity with Least Dollars Spent for the Town’s Scotty McCreery “American Idol” homecoming parade and concert on May 14, 2011, at Lake Benson Park.
The Town raised more than $53,000 from individuals and businesses – almost all of them local – to offset the cost of the event. It also received approximately $8,000 of in-kind contributions as well as volunteer labor on the day of the event. As a result, the Town’s subsidy of the homecoming celebration was only $8,100.
“The reason we won this award was because the community stepped up,” said Rick Mercier, Garner’s public information officer.
Mayor Ronnie Williams presented the award to Garner Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Director Sonya Shaw at the April 17 Town Council meeting. Shaw and her department led planning efforts for the event, but numerous other Town departments – including Public Works, Police and Economic Development – played essential roles in making the homecoming hugely successful. The Garner Chamber of Commerce also was a key partner in planning the event and raising funds for it.
“I wish I could say that it was all Parks and Rec that accomplished this, but it was a full town effort,” Shaw said.
“This year’s award ceremony showcased the best of the best in communications in North Carolina from special events to videos to projects that were creative but did not cost much money or anything at all,” NC3C President Mandy Pitts said.
Judges for the Excellence in Communications Awards were government communication professionals from California, Florida, Texas, Virginia, Colorado and Georgia. Each judge had previously won first or second place in the national Savvy Awards, presented annually by the City-County Communications and Marketing Association.