South Shore CVA Celebrates with Region Partners at Annual Holiday Party and Awards Night

South Shore CVA Celebrates with Region Partners at Annual Holiday Party and Awards Night

After a booming year for tourism and growth across Northwest Indiana, the South Shore CVA celebrated with their annual Holiday Party and Awards Night. Featuring quality food and drinks from some of the Region’s top breweries and wineries, business and community leaders toasted to a successful year and the exciting things to come in 2019.

Representatives from cities, businesses, and attractions all across Northwest Indiana attended the event, taking the time to catch up on their neighbor’s latest achievements and current plans. The event is unlike many other award banquets, putting a focus on fun and camaraderie rather than ceremony. Everything took place at the Indiana Welcome Center, with attendees mingling amongst the popular “A Christmas Story Comes Home Exhibit.”

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“We just want to celebrate the coming of the New Year with our partners, elected officials, and other business leaders,” said Erika Dahl, Director of Communications for the South Shore CVA. “We also honor a few businesses, individuals, and organizations for outstanding achievements to the hospitality industry around the South Shore.”

One of the most familiar faces to anyone attending the event was the constantly smiling Speros Batistatos, President and CEO of the South Shore CVA. He socialized with businesspeople and other community leaders and helped them network before he climbed Santa’s Mountain to honor the year’s award winners.

“It’s about recognizing the best our industry has to offer and making sure we tell those stories that are important to tell,” Batistatos said. “To me, the best part is just seeing all of our friends and the support that we have across the five counties here, Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, and Jasper. I also love the Lifetime Achievement Award, because it really recognizes those people that have spent decades doing great things for our industry and the South Shore.”

Crown Point Mayor David Uran is a regular attendee at the celebration, and highlighted the significance of the event and recognizing the achievements of the CVA and their partners.

“This is about collaboration and cooperation between all the communities across Northwest Indiana,” Uran said. “Tourism in the Region is a huge part of our economic opportunity, supporting our business, our growth, and providing jobs. It provides opportunities for people to have a different way to look at the net worth of themselves and their communities.”

The honorees stretched across a wide variety of categories, each honoring a different achievement. Here are the winners:

Hotel of the Year: Home2 Suites in Merrillville, accepted by Josh Sanders, general manager Restaurant of the Year: Bartlett’s Fish Camp in Michigan City, owned by Nicole Bissonnette and her husband Gary Sanders Attraction of the Year: WhoaZone at Whihala Beach in Whiting, accepted by Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura Festivals and Events of the Year: The City of East Chicago, accepted by Milton Reed, Economic Development Director Outstanding Organization: Lake County Parks and Recreation, accepted by CEO Jim Basala Elected Official of the Year: Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor Chester F. Dobis Lifetime Achievement Award: John Davies

The South Shore CVA also honored Vic DeMeyer for his long years of service as their Chairman of the Board of Directors.

To learn more about the South Shore CVA and the tons of activities and events offered around the Region this holiday season, visit