Downtown Celebrates at Annual Awards Fundraiser

Emcees Mary Young and Mary Kate Smith from The Portuguese Rodeo Clown Company.

Downtown Springfield Inc. celebrated our 27th year as the organization where the downtown neighborhood comes together with a “roaring” Annual Dinner fundraiser at the Wyndham Springfield City Centre on Thursday, January 16, 2020.

Thank you to our sponsors Watts Copy Systems, Wyndham Springfield City Centre, Illinois REALTORS, Chick Fritz Distributing and Frye Williamson Press. Thank you to our Corporate Table sponsors: Bank of Springfield, Brown, Hay & Stephens LLP, Hanson Professional Services, Horace Mann, HSHS St. Johns Hospital, Kuhn & Trello, Memorial Medical Center, and US Bank.

Thanks to Kristi Mitchell Photography for serving as the night’s official photographer: https://photographybykristi.shootproof.com/gallery/11509326/

Approximately 500 attendees were welcomed by a video from Governor JB Pritzker to kick off the night, which included a great performance by The Gaslight Squares, who came up to jam from St. Louis.

The evening marked the official transition from the 2019 Board of Directors to the 2020 Board of Directors, with outgoing President Kevin Kuhn of Kuhn & Trello Consulting Engineers passing the gavel to Brian Wojcicki of Illinois Capitol Group.

Mayor Jim Langfelder celebrated his 60th birthday with his annual State of the Downtown address. John Charles from Southern Illinois University and Bruce Sommer of University of Illinois Springfield also gave the first joint public appearance concerning the universities’ plans to submit a proposal to Governor Pritzker to expand programs in the downtown neighborhood via an Innovation District.

The audience generously raised more than $33,000 on the spot for DSI’s newest program, Momentum on Main Street, which brings together a coalition of entities to attract the next generation of entrepreneurs, property developers and investors. Stay tuned for announcements regarding our 2020 plans for Momentum thanks to this generous outpouring.

Chef August Mrozowski of Augie’s Front Burner receives the 2019 Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chef August Mrozowski was honored with the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award. Augie started in the kitchen at the St. Nick’s alongside his father at age 14; helped start the Old Capitol Farmers Market as a chef seeking new farmers with fresh ingredients in the 90’s; has helped train other amazing local chefs such as Jordan Coffey of American Harvest and Corey Faucon of Long Nine Junction; and celebrated 22 years operating Augie’s Front Burner in 2019. Read this excellent profile of Augie by Jay Kitterman from The State Journal-Register.

Award nominees were recommended by the public and determined by a panel of DSI Past Presidents and active members. Here is a complete list of the businesses and individuals recognized as people and places making the most impact on the neighborhood in calendar year 2019:

Best Retail
Corrine’s Closet

Best Restaurant
La Piazza Cucina Italiana

Best Nightlife
Floyd’s Thirst Parlor

Best Event
Jaycees Holiday Lights Parade

Best Creative Promotion
Holiday Walks Trivia (The Portuguese Rodeo Clown Company)

Green Leadership
Susan Helm, Native Planters Project

Innovative Business Concept
Dumb Records

Best New Signage
Richards & Stehman

Best Interior Renovation
Brown Hay and Stephens

Best Public/Private Partnership
Levitt AMP Springfield
City of Springfield, Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation,
PNC Bank, Springfield Area Arts Council

Best Not for Profit Initiative
Farmers Market SNAP Outreach
Junior League of Springfield

Downtown Advocate
David Lee

Best Holiday Window (Voted by Public)
The Roost

Best Upper Story Renovation
Third Monroe LLC

Best Overall Renovation
Centre at 501

DSI Volunteer of the Year
Michael S. Johnson

Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award
August Mrozowski

Want to get involved in DSI as a volunteer or join as a member? Contact us!

Announcing the 2019 Downtown Awards Nominees

All recipients are announced at our Annual Dinner on Thursday, January 16th. (You can still buy tickets! We are going back to the 1920’s with this year’s theme).

Awards without pre-announced nominees include Best Holiday Window as voted by the public; Best Upper Story Renovation; Best Overall Renovation; DSI Volunteer of the Year; and Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award.

Congratulations to the following businesses and individuals who epitomized the Best of 2019 in downtown Springfield. The nominations by the public were reviewed by a committee of DSI Past Presidents and members who were active in DSI committees last year:

Best Retail
Corrine’s Closet
Dumb Records
Itty Bitty Fashion Trunk

Best Restaurant
Arlington’s
Cafe Moxo
La Piazza Cucina Italiana

Best Nightlife
The Alamo
Floyd’s Thirst Parlor
JP Kelly’s

Best Event
Jaycees Holiday Lights Parade
Levitt AMP Springfield
Pride Fest

Best Creative Promotion
12 Days of Giveaways (Willow & Birch)
Holiday Walks Trivia (The Portuguese Radio Clown Company)
She’s Blooming Awesome (Springfield Vintage)

Green Leadership
Hoogland Center of the Arts, Energy Efficiency Plan
Illinois Environmental Council, Solar Installation
Susan Helm, Native Planters Project

Innovative Business Concept
Dumb Records
HelloWater
The Incubator

Best New Signage
The Cardologist
Good Heart Tattoo
Richards & Stehman

Best Interior Renovation
Anvil & Forge
Brown Hay and Stephens
INB Training Center & Marketing Offices

Best Public/Private Partnership
UIS Adoption of Innovate Springfield (Community Foundation and UIS)
Dare to be Different Fashion Show (Springfield Vintage and PCASA)
Levitt AMP Springfield (City, DSI, Heritage Foundation, PNC and other Sponsors)

Best Not for Profit Initiative
Bees & Butterflies Exhibit (Kidzeum)
Center for Health and Housing Concept (Helping Hands)
Farmers Market SNAP Outreach (Junior League of Springfield)

Downtown Advocate
Chris Nickell
David Lee
Josh Sabo

Tell Us Who Should Receive This Year’s DSI Awards

Every year during our Annual Dinner & Awards, Downtown Springfield Inc. recognizes the business owners in the downtown area who are leading the way to a busy, friendly, bold, entertaining and coveted neighborhood.

The first step in the nomination process comes from YOU. Log your suggestions using our online survey tool>

We’ll announce the 2019 recipients at the Annual Dinner on January 16, 2020.

Review the recipients over the years here.

This 27th Annual Dinner will be held at the Wyndham City Centre and we’re taking downtown back to its Roaring 20’s. Tickets will be available soon for DSI’s largest fundraiser of the year. This is one celebration you won’t want to miss!

Congrats to Our “Best Of” 2018 Nominees

Our 2017 Best Restaurant, Long Nine Junction, has a big 2019 in store — with their first child on the way in March, and the recent announcement of their Top 20 ranking among all restaurants in the US by Yelp.

Each year, Downtown Springfield Inc., the downtown business association and neighborhood revitalization champion comes together as a community for the organization’s Annual Dinner, which takes place on Wed., January 23, 2019 at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel a Doubletree by Hilton. Thanks to the Doubletree and our Co-Host sponsors, AT&T and Watts Copy Systems.

Although tickets are no longer available, fans of downtown can still support DSI’s revitalization work by bidding on our Silent Auction, which is available online. You’ll get minute-by-minute updates on the status of the items you want to bid on by going to https://dsiawards.givesmart.com. Thanks to the Illinois REALTORS for sponsoring our Silent Auction system this year!

The highlight of the Dinner is the Annual “Best Of” Awards presented to the people and businesses who were the most buzzworthy in the prior year. The public nominated every category, and then the nominations were all vetted by a DSI committee consisting of current members and Past Presidents of the organization.

DSI does not release names of nominees of the Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award, the DSI Volunteer of the Year Award, or the Downtown Advocate Award. This year, DSI will present a special Bicentennial Award as well.

DSI is proud to announce the following 2018 nominees:

Best Retail
The Roost
Studio on 6th
Wild Rose

Best Restaurant
VELE
Maldaner’s
Long Nine Junction

Best Night Life
Buzz Bomb Brewery
Floyd’s Thirst Parlor
Hoogland Center for the Arts

Best Event
Old Capitol Blues & BBQ
Springfield Jaycees Xmas Parade
Legacy of Giving Music Festival

Best Creative Promotion
#AdamsFamily by Mark Forinash, Cafe Moxo
Dumb Records’ Record of the Night/Moving
Obed & Isaac’s Bus Wine Tour

Green Leadership
Maldaner’s/Michael Higgins
Kevin Greene, Springfield Bicycle Advisory Council
Wind Solar USA

Best Overall Renovation
St. George Apartments – Josh Wagoner
Anvil & Forge
Willow & Birch

Impactful Public/Private Partnership
Innovate Springfield/ University of Illinois Springfield
Obed & Isaac’s/Fire Dept/MMC Burn Unit Station – One Porter event
Kidzeum/City of Springfield

Best Not-For-Profit Initiative
Gift of Hope’s Banner Campaign
Lincoln Library’s Homeless Outreach
PCASA’s Dare to be Different Fashion Show

Celebrate 26 Years of DSI

Celebrating 26 years of our neighborhood and the people who make it special.

5:00 – 6:00 pm VIP Pre-Party for Corporate & Business Tables at President Abraham Lincoln Hotel

5:30 – 6:30 pm Reception for all guests at BOS Center

6:30 – 8:15 pm Banquet & Recognitions for all guests at BOS Center

* fabulous meal prepared by Chef Jeffrey Davis from the President Abraham Lincoln Springfield – a Doubletree by Hilton Hotel
*2018 Downtown Awards for Excellence
*Mayor Jim Langfelder’s annual State of the Downtown Address

Online ticket sales end midnight, January 16, 2019. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door. 

REFUND POLICY: 
Nov. 6 – Dec. 31 – Full refund MINUS $10 processing fee
January 1 – 15 – 50% refund, but ticket is transferable
After January 15 – NO Refund, but ticket is transferable

Here are the prices:

Individual Tickets

Early Bird (11/12-1/2) $85

Late Bird (1/3-1/16) $95

This ticket type includes: Reception | Dinner & Awards | Dessert Reception

 

Business Table (8 Seats)

Early Bird (11/12-1/2) $700

Late Bird (1/3-1/16) $800

This ticket type includes: V.I.P. Pre-Party | Dinner & Awards | Dessert Reception | Reserved seating in preferred location | Per ticket discount

 

Corporate Table (8 seats)

Early Bird (11/12-1/2)  $1500

Late Bird (1/3-1/16) $1700

This ticket type includes: V.I.P. Pre-Party | Dinner & Awards | Dessert Reception | Reserved seating in prime location | Per ticket discount | Recognition as an event partner in the program book | Logo included in scrolling PowerPoint | Table handout

Purchase your tickets>

 

No Such Template. Please Select Valid Template and Try Again.