Jersey Shore Convention & Visitors Bureau Annual Big Wave Awards to Honor Seven
October 13, 2014 – Red Bank, NJ: The Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau will honor seven individuals at organization’s annual Big Wave Awards presentation for their contributions to developing a positive quality of life at the Jersey Shore. Patti Baxter of Spark Market Solutions has been tapped to receive the organization’s Spirit of the Shore Award, presented to an “individual whose service and commitment to the Jersey Shore goes above and beyond the call of duty,” according to JSCVB Executive Director Robert Hilton. “The honorees selected by our Board of Directors to receive the Big Wave Awards have achieved a special status for their contributions and commitment to our Jersey Shore region.”
Patti Baxter founded Spark Market Solutions, LLC, a boutique destination marketing firm based in Red Bank, in 2005. Since then, Baxter has strengthened the firm’s reputation promoting tourism in Monmouth and Ocean County and the Jersey Shore. Patti’s efforts have resulted in some of the Shore’s iconic festivals, working with the Belmar Tourism Commission to build and promote events such as the New Jersey Seafood Festival, Belmar Restaurant Tour, Beer on the Pier, San Gennaro Festival and the Belmar Pro Surf Tournament. Spark’s signature food events for Monmouth Park in Oceanport have become popular standouts in the racetrack’s schedule. Each year, the Food Truck Showdowns, Shore Chef Crab Cake Cook-off, the BBQ & Craft Beer Fest and Trucktoberfest are among the track’s busiest weekends. Pete Genovese, noted food writer for NJ.com and The Star-Ledger, has credited Spark with “igniting the food truck craze in New Jersey,” as Spark has gone on to create successful food truck events at Laurita Winery, Brick Township and Manahawkin, among others. These events have garnered crowds from 8,000 to over 200,000 for the three day extravaganzas and over $1.5 million in sponsorship funds to support the host events and organizations.
Baxter’s efforts in promoting tourism on the Jersey Shore are not limited to producing events. In 2007, Spark worked with the Shore Region Tourism Council to garner $75,000 in matching sponsorship funds to secure the initial Destination Marketing Organization grant offered by the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, resulting in the creation of the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau. In 2010, Spark was tapped by the Monmouth County Department of Tourism to create Visit Monmouth, the county’s official tourism guide. The iconic annual publication, published in print and online and distributed all year long by tourism partners throughout Monmouth County, was honored with the Governor’s Award for Tourism in its first year. Its success and popularity has spawned a partner publication for the Ocean County Department of Business Development & Tourism, Explore Ocean County, currently in production for 2015 publication.
“Our success is deeply imbedded with our partners: the Belmar Tourism Commission, Monmouth County and Ocean County Tourism departments, the marketing team at Monmouth Park, and so many others,” Baxter said recently. “Promoting the Jersey Shore and developing these events and publications are not a singular effort. We have been extremely fortunate to partner with dedicated individuals and organizations who realize the value in working together to achieve a greater good.”
Others being honored by the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau include Robert Provost, formerly of The Star-Ledger, being presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, for his dedication and support of the JSCVB. The Jersey Shore Partnership, represented by executive director Margot Walsh, will accept the Anchor Award, honoring an organization that has been a force for positive change and an asset to the Jersey Shore community. Reggie Hyde, owner of Bar Anticipation in Lake Como, is the recipient of the Icon Award, honoring an individual or organization that embodies the essence of the Jersey Shore. Laurita Winery’s Ray Shea and Randy Johnson will accept the Rising Tide Award, honoring an organization that, although new to the Jersey Shore, has quickly made an exceptional impact on tourism. The Resilience Award, honoring an organization or individual that continues to grow and become stronger in the wake of continual challenges will be presented to the Borough of Seaside Park. The JSCVB’s first Lifetime Trustee Award will be presented to Gordon Reinauer, who has dedicated his life to tourism in New Jersey for over 30 years.
The JSCVB’s Big Wave awards will be presented on October 15, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. at Branches Catering, West Long Branch, NJ. Tickets are available online or by calling 732-244-9283. Jersey Shore Convention & Visitors Bureau, a destination marketing organization funded through memberships, sponsorships and the State of New Jersey, promotes a positive image of the environmental, cultural, and historic assets of the region through marketing programs that increases leisure and business tourism. The organization is organized and operated exclusively to promote tourism in the Jersey Shore regions of Monmouth and northern Ocean Counties, to stimulate commerce, strengthen the regional tax base and to support educational, cultural, and historic and tourism institutions. Go to www.visitthejerseyshore.com for more information or to purchase tickets to the Big Wave Awards.