Achievers & Accolades

State Association Lauds Events In Pender County

By Staff Reports, posted Feb 7, 2023
Events in Pender County received recognition during the ShowFest Event Innovators Conference in Charlotte. (Photo courtesy of Pender County Tourism)

Ocean Fest was the recipient of five awards and Burgaw’s New Year's Eve Blueberry Drop was a recipient of two awards recently during the annual ShowFest Event Innovators Conference, according to a news release.

Pender County Tourism and Ocean Fest, both members of the association, submitted entries into a variety of categories for each event. The awards program allowed the association to recognize festivals and events that took place during the 2022 calendar year.

Ocean Fest, a nonprofit eco-friendly, surf, arts and music festival held in Surf City, was the NC Event of the Year, while also receiving an award for Best Community Outreach and Best Merchandise. Ocean Fest also received an award for recognition of its supporting sponsor New Belgium Brewing Co., with Mark Anders being awarded director of the year.

The town of Burgaw’s New Year's Eve Blueberry Drop was awarded for both its print media and event sponsor T-shirt.

“We are happy to see the event grow in popularity along with the notoriety across the state received from this organization,’’ said Cody Suggs, town of Burgaw parks, recreation and tourism director. “The event is a collaborative partnership with Pender County Tourism, Pender County Parks & Recreation, and the North Carolina Blueberry Festival.”

The Annual Show Fest Event Innovators Conference is held in Charlotte. The theme of this year’s conference was Getting Revved Up for 2023. Conference attendees included festival & event planners and industry professionals. For more information about NCAFE visit online at

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