The Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau will forgo issuing fall awards this year due to COVID-19.
"Many of the initiatives of the CVB have been impacted by the multifaceted fallout from the pandemic," said Ellen Archer, executive director of the Cartersville-Bartow County Convention & Visitors Bureau. "The one that is the most publicly visible is the Hospitality Hero Awards, which includes the People's Choice Awards for best restaurant, attraction and shop in Bartow County. We've presented these awards at Rose Lawn arts festival since 2005 but we suspended the awards for this year."
In past years, the People's Choice Awards showcased Bartow’s top nonfranchised restaurants, shops and attractions. The online contest garnered votes from the public, usually from around June 1 to Aug. 31.
Various establishments have accumulated several of these awards, including It's About Time Boutique, 2014 through 2019; Periwinkle, 2007 to 2009 and 2011; and Johnny Mitchell's Smokehouse, four-time winner for Best Restaurant. Georgia Museums Inc.'s venues also have scored big with Booth Western Art Museum winning seven times and Tellus Science Museum capturing the Best Attraction accolade four times.
Along with It's About Time Boutique winning its sixth consecutive Best Shop award, 2019's People’s Choice accolades were presented to Table 20 for the second year in a row for Best Restaurant and LakePoint Sports for Best Attraction.
"Seeing the financial austerity heading our way, all functions nonessential to maintaining basic operations — like keeping the lights on — have been suspended," Archer said. "While the awards cost us just a few hundred dollars for the plaques, it cost us a few hundred dollars.
"Also, other than the People's Choice Awards, the board votes on the recipients. Discussion of who should receive the awards actually takes a lot of time and the conference call meetings the board has had just didn't allow for those lengthly discussions."
Sorry to hear the CVB's 2020 awards were halted, Rose Lawn Museum Director Jane Drew shared the 45th annual Arts Festival at Rose Lawn still is slated for Sept. 19 and 20.
"At this point, yes, we are planning on having the festival," she said. "However, we will certainly evaluate it closer to. ... It could be an abbreviated show. We don't know for sure exactly what to expect."
Each year the Arts Festival at Rose Lawn blankets the grounds of the former Cartersville residence of the late renowned Methodist evangelist Samuel Porter Jones. Presently operated by Bartow County government as a house museum, the building is situated at 224 W. Cherokee Ave.
Along with checking out vendors’ arts and crafts, patrons are able to tour the historic Victorian structure and obtain details about Jones, whose ministry started small — preaching at various churches and open-air tabernacles surrounding Cartersville. Gaining notoriety during the late 1800s, he drew thousands to revivals at the Union Gospel Tabernacle, which is now known as Ryman Auditorium — home of the Grand Ole Opry.
"For years, the People’s Choice Awards have been a very popular added attraction to our coveted Juried Artist Awards Ceremony," Drew said. "CVB Executive Director Ellen Archer has always been our biggest cheerleader. Serving as a CVB board member, I surely understand and support the decision that Ellen has made to cut expenditures due the constraints caused by the coronavirus.
"However, the Rose Lawn staff plans to continue recognizing and rewarding our 2020 artists who submit their arts and crafts for prize money. As they say, ‘the show must go on.’”