Herschends honored with Kit Bond Citizen Leadership Award – Branson Tri-Lakes news

Legendary area businessmen Peter and Jack Herschend have been honored by the Hawthorn Foundation for their career accomplishments.

The two brothers received the 2023 Kit Bond Citizen Leadership Award during a special luncheon hosted on Thursday, June 15, at Big Cedar Lodge. The award ceremony was attended by several Missouri dignitaries, including former Senator Kit Bond, Governor Mike Parson, and Branson Mayor Larry Milton.

“Teresa and I were happy to join Senator Kit Bond, his wife Linda, and friends from across the state to honor Jack and Peter Herschend with the 2023 Kit Bond Citizen Leadership Award,” Parson said. “We are proud of the Herschend family for their outstanding contributions in the Branson area and for exemplifying our Hawthorn Foundation mission to promote the economic prosperity of all Missourians.”

The Silver Dollar City founders and owners of Herschend Family Entertainment were lauded for their business accomplishments along with their dedication toward driving tourism to the Ozarks region.

“It truly was a wonderful night to celebrate two very amazing men, Jack, and Peter Herschend,” Sight & Sound Theatres General Manager Cynthia Carson said in a statement. “Both these men have been an inspiration to so many of us. I believe we are all better because they have taken risks, followed their dreams and pursued hard work promoting economic prosperity throughout our region.”

Silver Dollar City, recently named again as No.1 Theme Park in America by USA Today, is just a part of a business portfolio for the Herschends, which includes White Water and the Showboat Branson Belle in Branson, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN, and Dolly Parton’s Stampede in both of those cities. They also own and operate the legendary clown princes of basketball, the Harlem Globetrotters.

The presenters of the award, the Hawthorn Foundation, is a group of statewide leaders focused on increasing Missouri’s economic prosperity. The first award was given to former Senator Kit Bond in 2017. 

Other recipients include former Senator Roy Blunt, former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes, and Springfield businessman Jim Anderson.

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