Excellent service is as good as gold.

The Golden Helmet Awards were originally created in celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week to honor those who continuously make memorable experiences for our visitors through exceptional customer service as it relates to local tourism.

Each year, Cabarrus County hospitality partners are able to nominate persons within their organization or the community that have gone beyond the call of duty to wow guests and do their part in strengthening our destination’s reputation. Nominees are involved with the community and the industry on many levels and often receive rave reviews from clients and visitors.

Criteria

Anyone employed or volunteering in the hospitality and tourism industry within Cabarrus County is eligible for nomination. A call for nominations is sent to the database of Cabarrus County CVB Partners prior to the ceremony. In addition to considering feedback obtained through partner nominations, the Cabarrus County CVB selects Golden Helmet Award winners based upon the nominees contribution to the wellbeing of the area’s travel and tourism culture as well as the nominees level of activity with the Cabarrus County CVB organization.

Categories

Unsung Hero – Unseen by visitors but essential to creating an overall positive guest experience
Outstanding Ambassador of the Year – Frontline team member who represents Cabarrus County with excellent customer service
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Demonstrates superior professional dedication and leadership within the hospitality community
Hometown Hero – A native or long-time resident who embodies the spirit of Cabarrus County and proudly shares the destination with those they encounter
Destination Visionary – An individual or organization that has forged a path for significant tourism advancements in Cabarrus County
Hospitality Humanitarian – A member of Cabarrus County’s hospitality industry who enthusiastically offers their time, energy and heart to helping our community
Smith Family Lifetime Achievement Award – An individual in our community who has dedicated their life’s work to a passion that elevates Cabarrus County as a visitor destination

These honors are awarded based on actions that have gone above and beyond normal day-to-day operations to support hospitality and tourism in Cabarrus County.
Attraction of the Year 
Hotel of the Year
Restaurant of the Year
Small Business of the Year

Contact

For more information about Celebrate Cabarrus and the Golden Helmet Awards, contact Gayle Love Lee.

Past Award Winners

8th Annual Celebrate Cabarrus – December 2, 2021

News Release: “Cabarrus County CVB honors hospitality partners during eighth annual Celebrate Cabarrus

Attraction of the Year – Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Hotel of the Year – Great Wolf Lodge
Restaurant of the Year – Johnny Rogers BBQ & Burgers
Small Business of the Year – Market Street Studios
Outstanding Ambassador – Senator Paul Newton
Unsung Hero – Linda Brown, Great Wolf Lodge
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Babette Huitt, Charlotte Motor Speedway
Hospitality Humanitarian Award – Greg Walter, Charlotte Motor Speedway
Hometown Hero – Mike Downs, Cabarrus County
Destination Visionary Award – City of Concord
Smith Family Lifetime Achievement Award – Noelle Rhodes Scott, Cabarrus Arts Council

7th Annual Celebrate Cabarrus – December 11, 2019

News Release: “Cabarrus County CVB recognizes hospitality professionals with Golden Helmet Awards”

Attraction of the Year – iFLY Indoor Skydiving
Hotel of the Year – Hampton Inn & Suites Concord Charlotte
Restaurant of the Year – 44 Mills Kitchen + Tap
Small Business of the Year – Cabarrus Brewing Company
Outstanding Ambassador
– Tim Hagler, Charlotte Motor Speedway
Unsung Hero – Chantel Alston-Wynn, Hilton Garden Inn
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Owen Parker, Hilton Garden Inn
Hospitality Humanitarian Award – Sheryl Kluge, Homewood Suites by Hilton Concord
Hometown Hero – Kathleen & Justin Reeder, The Bead Lady
Destination Visionary Award – Castle & Cooke/City of Kannapolis Partnership
Smith Family Lifetime Achievement Award – Ray Soporowski, Concord Mills

6th Annual Celebrate Cabarrus – December 6, 2018

News Release: “Sixth Annual Golden Helmet Awards honor hospitality professionals in Cabarrus”

Attraction of the Year – K1 Speed
Hotel of the Year – Homewood Suites by Hilton Concord/Charlotte
Restaurant of the Year – 73 & Main
Small Business of the Year – OMG Donuts
Outstanding Ambassador – Arlene Stone, Charlotte Motor Speedway
Unsung Hero – Argelia Cabral, Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte/Concord
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Susan McEntire, Charlotte Motor Speedway
Destination Visionary Award – Dr. Allen Dobson
Hometown Hero – Leanne Powell, Southern Grace Distilleries at Mt. Pleasant Prison
Smith Family Lifetime Achievement Award – Sam Bass

5th Annual Celebrate Cabarrus – June 22, 2017

News Release: “Fifth annual Golden Helmet Awards Honor Hospitality Professionals in Cabarrus”

Attraction of the Year – Southern Grace Distilleries
Hotel of the Year – Comfort Suites – Kannapolis
Restaurant of the Year 
– Forty Six
Small Business of the Year
– Cabarrus Brewing Co. & NASCAR Racing Experience
Outstanding Ambassador – Devante Watkins, Hilton Garden Inn
Unsung Hero –  Adam Dancy, Concord Regional Airport
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Vicki Baptista, Comfort Suites – Concord Mills
Hospitality Humanitarian Award – Paige Welch
Destination Visionary Award – City of Kannapolis

4th Annual Celebrate Cabarrus – May 6, 2016

News Release: “County’s business and hospitality professionals honored at Celebrate Cabarrus 2016”

Attraction of the Year – Hendrick Motorsports
Hotel of the Year– Hilton Garden Inn Charlotte/Concord
Restaurant of the Year
– Gianni’s Trattoria
S
mall Business of the Year – Southern Grace Distilleries
Outstanding Ambassador – Terry Crawford
Unsung Hero – Eddie Ray, North Carolina Music Hall of Fame
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Dianne Eckert, Charlotte Motor Speedway
Hometown Hero – The Avett Family
Destination Visionary Award – Concord Regional Airport

3rd Annual Celebrate Cabarrus – May 2, 2015

News Release: “County’s business and hospitality professionals honored at Celebrate Cabarrus”

Attraction of the Year – SEA LIFE Aquarium
Hotel of the Year – Great Wolf Lodge
Restaurant of the Year – The Smoke Pit
Small Business of the Year – Cabarrus Creamery
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Billy Gulledge, Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Concord
Hometown Hero – Michael Anderson, Michael A. Anderson Photography
Outstanding Ambassador – Lenny Stallings, Capstone Climbing and Adventure
Unsung Hero – Joyce Kelly, Affordable Corporate Suites – Concord
Destination Visionary Award – City of Concord

Attraction of the Year – Concord Mills
Hotel of the Year – Embassy Suites Charlotte-Concord Golf Resort & Spa
Restaurant of the Year – The Speedway Club
Small Business of the Year – Miss M’s Sweets
Unsung Hero of the Year – Sam Dozier, Great Wolf Lodge
Outstanding Ambassador of the Year – Evan Lindsey, SpringHill Suites
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Randy Long, Kannapolis Intimidators
Hometown Hero – Virginia and Bill Foil, Dot Foil Shillinglaw, Foil Farms

Inaugural Celebrate Cabarrus – May 2, 2013

News Release: “Hospitality professionals honored at Golden Helmet Awards”

Attraction of the Year Charlotte Motor Speedway
Hotel of the Year – 
Holiday Inn Express – Exit 49, Billy Gulledge
Restaurant of the Year – Jim ‘N Nick’s, Robin Diamond
Small Business of the Year – The Bead Lady, Kathleen Reeder
Unsung Hero of the Year – Nelson Guste’, Residence Inn by Marriott
Outstanding Ambassador of the Year – Coralee Stevenson, Hilton Garden Inn
Hospitality Professional of the Year – Jennifer Parsley, AIM Tours