The leaders of some of Elkhart County’s most vibrant attractions were recognized recently by the State of Indiana with Hoosier Hospitality Awards.

Carl and Evelyn Detwiler of Nappanee and Joanna King of Middlebury were among 17 recipients from throughout the state who were honored for their dedication and high level of service to tourism and hospitality interests.

The Quilt Garden at the Nappanee Center have been enhanced by the creativity and tirelessness of the Detwilers’ work. The annual Quilt Gardens, which includes 17 other locations throughout Elkhart County, was named Best Festival or Event by the Indiana Tourism Association in 2017.

King’s extensive experience in tourism and hospitality includes being involved in planning for Goshen First Fridays, Shipshewana Mayfest and the Shipshewana Ice Festival, serving on the Goshen Theatre board, and owning multiple tourism-related businesses.

“Carl and Evelyn, and Joanna represent the very best of Elkhart County,” said Diana Lawson, CEO of the Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Their energies come from how much they love their community and want to share it with others. Our county would not be where it is today without people like them.”

Here is what was presented about King and the Detwilers at the awards ceremony Friday, Aug. 17, 2018, in Indianapolis.

Carl & Evelyn Detwiler, Nappanee Center Quilt Garden, Elkhart County This dynamic duo (photo at left, with Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch) spends hundreds of hours promoting the first Nappanee Center Quilt Garden and the nationally acclaimed Elkhart County Heritage Trail Quilt Garden Tour. Evelyn, a member of the Nappanee Home & Garden Club, was involved when the first garden was planted. The following year Carl joined her and became the chief carpenter. The two combined their creative talents with the planning, preparation and building of all the hardscapes used in the gardens over the past few years. Additionally, the couple helps direct the planting, weekly maintenance, extra work days, and overall health of the garden. Carl and Evelyn know no strangers. When on site at the garden, they willingly share the story of the Quilt Garden tour and the work and effort that goes into maintaining a garden. Being proud citizens of Nappanee, they also regularly invite visitors to seek out other venues within our community.

Joanna King, Goshen Theatre, Elkhart & LaGrange counties Joanna King from Middlebury (photo at left, with Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch) has been a leader in the tourism industry for over 50 years. Joanna and her husband own six tourism-related businesses in Elkhart and LaGrange counties. Joanna is always willing to serve on an event committee, which includes the monthly Goshen First Friday events, the Shipshewana Mayfest event, and the Shipshewana Ice Festival. In addition, she serves on the Goshen Theatre Board and has been instrumental in bringing that vision to life by co-chairing the fundraising committee. This project has raised $5.2 million for the first phase of restoring the historic theatre. Due to Joanna’s volunteer fundraising efforts, the Goshen Theatre has now been able to hire a new managing director, who will spearhead event and entertainment development bringing exciting things to downtown Goshen.

The Elkhart County Convention & Visitors Bureau is the official tourism advertising/marketing and public/community relations organization for the Elkhart County hospitality industry. The ECCVB advances quality-of-place initiatives in our downtowns and rural spaces, parks and natural environment, arts and culture, and events, festivals, groups and activities that help forge social connections.

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For more information, contact Terry T. Mark, director of communications of the Elkhart County Convention and Visitors Bureau, at 574-262-8161 or