FARGO - Several individuals and community and business groups were honored for their contributions to tourism during the Fargo-Moorhead Convention & Visitors Bureau’s annual awards luncheon Tuesday, March 19, at the Radisson Hotel.

CVB president and CEO Charley Johnson praised the 2018 award winners for their hard work.

“We’re all people pulling on the same rope trying to get people to come to this community,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the West Fargo Flyers and FM Gators swimming clubs earned their Tourism Champion Award by becoming the “village” needed to put on large events at the Hulbert Aquatic Center in West Fargo.

Johnson said the clubs dove into the problem of planning and executing large competitions. The award celebrates “their ability to push past their geographic boundaries and work collaboratively for the betterment of the community.”

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Ashley Morken, owner of Fargo’s Unglued, earned the Pineapple Award for contributing to making the area a destination and improving the experiences of visitors.

Johnson said the 8th annual Unglued Craft Fest brought 5,000 attendees to the Plains Art Museum over two days, helping local and regional crafters. The “Unglued Crew” has also presented do-it-yourself workshops, craft parties and a winter retreat, he said.

The Industry Excellence Award went to the North Dakota Petroleum Council, which held its 2018 annual meeting in Fargo in September. The conference, which included a speech by Donald Trump Jr., brought about $148,000 in direct visitor spending to the area, Johnson said.

The National Collegiate Roller Hockey Association scored the MVP Award.

The NCRHA brought its Collegiate National Championships to Fargo last April, with more than 50 teams from Division I, II, III and junior college ranks competing over five days. That resulted in nearly 1,100 room nights for local hotels, Johnson said.

Two former mayors were also honored for their tourism efforts.

Del Rae Williams of Moorhead and Rich Mattern of West Fargo were each honored with the North of Normal Award.

Mattern saw 610 hotel rooms built in West Fargo during his time as mayor, and got the city involved with the CVB starting in 2013, Johnson said.

Williams “was and remains a tireless supporter for Moorhead and the greater community, and always espouses a vision for Moorhead’s participation in a downtown that’s really one destination,” Johnson said.