NORMAN — Dinosaurs, medieval knights, lords and ladies, musicians, a renowned painter, OU ponies Boomer and Sooner and other friends helped celebrate 20 years of tourism Monday in Norman.
The Norman Convention and Visitors Bureau’s 20-year anniversary celebration included a gala luncheon commemorating National Tourism Week.
“Staycations are in this year in 2013,” Mayor Cindy Rosenthal said after officially proclaiming May 5-11 as National Tourism Week in Norman.
Rosenthal said Norman offers everything a traveler could want.
NCVB Executive Director Stephen Koranda, after removing the head of a dinosaur costume he had worn while welcoming guests incognito, said lots of jobs depend on tourism in Norman.
Koranda commended his staff and recognized the efforts of the three directors who had preceded him since the Convention and Visitors Bureau was established 20 years ago. Former executive directors Danna Fowble and Marcy Jarrett were on hand for the anniversary celebration. Former director Sherri Rogers was unable to attend.
The celebration was in conjunction with the CVB’s annual year in review. A slideshow of accomplishments indicated that 17 of 18 key indicators of the bureau’s success are up this year compared to last year’s numbers, and Koranda pledged those numbers will continue to grow.
“What we call results are just beginnings,” he said.
Joyce Pitchlynn of the Norman Parks Foundation made a special presentation along with the announcement of a new landscaping award to be given annually in an effort to encourage landscape excellence in the community.
Pitchlynn said the University of Oklahoma provided the inspiration for the award with its great landscaping. The Foundation kicked off the recognition this year by recognizing OU with a special Inspiration award.
In particular, Pitchlynn said the Foundation wanted to honor President David Boren and OU First Lady Molly Shi Boren, who have been particularly active in promoting landscaping and the planting of trees at the university.