Sep 4, 2013

Blackstone Valley Tourism Council


Category: News Room
Posted by: Craig


Blackstone Valley Tourism Council Awards Dinner on October 3, 2013 will also feature special performance by acclaimed singer and pianist Daryl Sherman

Reserve Thursday evening, October 3, 2013, for a very special evening to celebrate milestones and honor distinguished guests, as the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council (BVTC) hosts their 28th Annual Awards Dinner & Ceremonies at the Twin River Casino Event Center, 100 Twin River Road, Lincoln, RI.

This year, BVTC celebrates the 20th anniversary of their 40 passenger riverboat, Blackstone Valley Explorer, the only riverboat cruising the historic waters of the Blackstone American Heritage River. Since 1993, the tour boat has taken over 25 thousand passengers annually to see the heritage and nature of the river and interpret the river’s role in America’s Industrial Revolution, begun in the region 220 years ago.

In addition, BVTC will be honoring important people and sites in the Blackstone River Valley that has played recent significant roles in shaping and revitalizing the social, economic and community fabric of the Blackstone River Valley.

This year’s award winners being recognized are:

Footprints in History Award
Stillwater Mill Complex, Harrisville, RI

This once abandoned mill has been beautifully retransformed into residential apartments and retail space, and is the new home for the town’s Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library.

Blackstone Valley Distinction in Business Award
Central Falls Provisions

Known for its quality kielbasas and specialty sausages, Central Falls Provisions has been in business for 90 years, under the direction of three generations of the Skoczylka family, which first began sausage making in 1923.

Excellence in Arts and Business Award

Herb Weiss, Economic & Cultural Affairs Officer for the City of Pawtucket is being honored for his long time work in developing the city as a major arts and entertainment destination and in coordinating the annual Pawtucket Arts Festival, as a major Southern New England event.


These awards will be presented to businesses and organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable tourism development in the State of Rhode Island, New England and nationally. This year’s award winners are:

Rhode Island Prize: Blackstone River Theatre, Cumberland, RI
Since July, 1996, when Blackstone River Theatre took over the former Unity Masonic Lodge at 549 Broad Street, Cumberland, it has been painstakingly transformed from a building targeted for demolition into what is now one of the brightest spots in the Valley. The renovation work was spearheaded by Russell Gusetti and Bob Drouin of the RI-based music ensemble Pendragon who coordinated a small but dedicated group of volunteers with financial support provided by the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor Commission, the Town of Cumberland, and several local businesses.

New England Prize: Catania Hospitality Group, Cape Cod, MA
Celebrating its 40th year in business, the Cantania Hospitality Group, based in Hyannis, MA, owns and operates an award winning collection of restaurants, hotels and spas located throughout Massachusetts.

National Prize: Alex and Ani LLC, Cranston, RI
Known as true Rhode Island business success story, Alex and Ani offers eco-friendly, positive energy products that adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit, designed by Carolyn Rafaelian and made in America. Carolyn believes that every individual has a positive message to share with the world and by incorporating powerful symbolism and design into each (+) energy piece, Alex and Ani provides a vehicle for the wearer to express their individuality in an organic, spiritual way. She believes it is her life’s work to support communities and organizations while inspiring her customers to relish what is unique and authentic about themselves, revealing the beauty that resides within.
In addition, Alex and Ani owns other ventures including Teas & Javas, a specialty beverage company; Sakonnet Vineyards, based in Little Compton, RI, and the famous Belcourt Castle mansion, located on historic Bellevue Avenue in Newport.

Rev. William Blackstone Society Inductions:

These awards honor individuals who have reflected the ideals of heritage and cultural development in the Blackstone River Valley and named in honor of the first European settler of Rhode Island that now bears his name.

This year’s inductees are:

Daryl Sherman, noted singer and pianist
A sparkling mainstay of Manhattan nightlife, singer/pianist Daryl Sherman is equally at home in the world of jazz and cabaret. Internationally acclaimed for a stellar 14-year run at the Waldorf=Astoria, she played Cole Porter's Steinway and has headlined the annual Cole Porter Festival in his hometown - Peru, Indiana. Her latest CD, Mississippi Belle celebrates Porter in a New Orleans setting. Daryl's been a favorite at the Algonquin Oak Room -touted-"someone who fits the room like Derek Jeter fits the Yankees" (Village Voice) plus Feinstein's at the Regency, Rose Hall with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Dizzy's Coca Cola and 59E59 Theaters with Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks.

From her arrival in New York with stints at Sinatra hangouts like Jilly's, Eddie Condon’s, Michael's Pub, Knickerbokcer, Iridium or Shangahi Jazz, there's hardly a jazz joint, supper club or hotel Daryl has missed. Sherman's many recordings are in regular national rotation on Cable TV's Music Choice and Sirius/XM Radio, BBC Radio and Jazz FM Berlin. Cited MAC "Best Major Recording" for her Johnny Mercer Centennial CD - a track was used in a Mercer documentary produced by Clint Eastwood. A frequent guest on Marian McPartland's NPR Piano Jazz, Sherman was also included on BBC Radio's Johnny Mercer Tribute.

She's been Artistic Director for the 92nd St Y's Lyrics & Lyricists tribute to Johnny Burke- also hosting, scripting and performing with an all-star jazz cast. Her (Arbors) tribute to Richard Rodgers, A Hundred Million Miracles received four stars in Downbeat, and Guess Who's In Town cited The New Yorker '10 Best of 2006'

Michael Hebert, historic preservationist
For the past 24 years, Mr. Hebert has served as the Supervising Historic Preservation Specialist & Archaeologist for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

Mr. Hebert holds a Master’s degree in anthropology from New York University and a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Rhode Island.
In addition to his professional career, Mr. Hebert serves on the American-French Genealogical Society, National Register Review Board of the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, Association of Transportation Archaeologists, Board Member of the Rhode Island Historical Records Advisory Board.

As a special treat to the Annual Dinner Meeting and Awards audience, they will be entertained by Ms. Sherman in a special live performance, joined by Mike Renzi.

The evening starts at 5:30 pm, with a Reception and Silent Auction, where attendees can bid on fabulous gifts and prizes donated by Blackstone River Valley establishments.

Following the Dinner and Entertainment at 8 pm, the Awards Ceremonies will occur to honor all winners.

Don’t miss out on this great evening showcasing the very best Rhode Island’s Blackstone River Valley has to offer as the state’s premier destination for American heritage, cultural diversity, captivating nature and exciting arts and entertainment!

Tickets for the BVTC Annual Dinner and Awards are $59/person, or $550/table of 10.

Make reservations by September 19, 2013 by calling the BVTC at 401-724-2200, or go to