The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau will present its annual Salute to Travel & Tourism awards tonight.

The red carpet event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner and awards presentation at 7 p.m. at University Plaza Hotel & Convention Center.

Awards are presented in five categories.

The Pinnacle Award, the top award presented, remains secret until the ceremony. The Pinnacle Award goes to individuals who have been active in the travel industry for many years and have made substantial contributions to the betterment of the Springfield area’s travel industry.

The Hospitality Award is presented to an attraction, lodging facility or restaurant which demonstrates outstanding hospitality to the traveling public and exhibits a team spirit in promoting growth of Springfield area travel and tourism. This year is goes to Mother’s Brewing Company.

The Diplomat Award is presented to a government official, organization or employee who has provided significant support to the Springfield area travel industry. Ted Hillmer, superintendent at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, will receive this award.

The Spotlight Award is presented to an individual, business or organization not usually considered part of the travel and tourism industry for noteworthy contributions in advancing travel and tourism in the Springfield area. Five Pound Apparel is the recipient this year.

The Ambassador Award is presented to individuals or organizations who generated significant economic impact for the area by working to encourage tourism or secure a major convention or event in Springfield. Tim Flatt with National Christian Homeschool Championships will receive this honor.

The CVB began presenting travel and tourism awards in 2000. For a list of past recipients, go to