LEXINGTON, Ky. - VisitLEX recognized 34 people representing 24 meetings/events as Hometown Hosts today at a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Lexington.

Developed by VisitLEX in 2004, the Hometown Host Program provides support and resources to anyone in Kentucky who can influence and be instrumental in bringing meetings, conventions and events to Lexington. VisitLEX's goal is to make the planning process easier for the Hometown Host by providing meeting and hotel options, specialty venue ideas, and organizing first-class site visits.

These Hometown Hosts were responsible for bringing more than 23,000 visitors representing more than 25,000 room nights to Lexington.

In addition to being named Hometown Hosts, garden designer Jon Carloftis and Dale Fisher, general manager and partner at Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens, received the first ever "Share the LEX" award for all they do to help promote Lexington. They frequently host cocktail parties for visiting journalists and take VisitLEX materials with them to hand out when they are on the road working gardening events around the country.

Hometown Host recipients included Senate President Robert Stivers, who brought more than 1,200 people to Lexington for the Southern Legislative Conference, former UK basketball player Jared Prickett and more than 20 University of Kentucky faculty and staff members. These Hometown Hosts brought meetings and conferences to our community in areas such as health care, education, agriculture, and engineering.

"Because of these Hometown Hosts, we attracted many meetings that might not have selected Lexington without their help," VisitLEX President Mary Quinn Ramer said. "They serve an important role not only in tourism and conventions but also in exposing so many visitors to the tremendous attractions that Lexington has to offer."

The 2017 Hometown Host honorees, who were presented with a commemorative plaque, are:

William Hensinger, Kentucky Harley Owners Group Rally
Amy Caudill, Sixel Airports Conference
Beth Fuchs, Library Orientation Exchange Annual Conference
Linda Gorton, America in Bloom Symposium
Ann Garrity, America in Bloom Symposium
Crystal Vires-Smith, UK Healthcare Affiliate Stroke Care Conference
Cheri Tolle, UK Affiliates Network Conference
Dibakar Bhattacharyya, North American Membrane Society Annual Meeting
Isabel Escobar, North American Membrane Society Annual Meeting
Susan Campbell, Southern Region Agriculture Business and Personnel Officers Conference
Stephen Sizemore, Southern Region Agriculture Business and Personnel Officers Conference
Le Anne Herzog, Southern Region Agriculture Business and Personnel Officers Conference
David Arnett, UK Debates Tournament of Champions
Becky Naugle, Kentucky Small Business Development Center Statewide Meeting
Jaret Prickett, Run 4 the Roses Basketball Tournament
Tim Kirby, Collegiate Mine Rescue Contest
Dan Han, Symposium for the International Society of Neurogastronomy
Center for Applied Energy Research, World of Coal Ash
Hunter Gillispie, 39th International Intercollegiate Mining Games
Tristan Worsey, 39th International Intercollegiate Mining Games
Geaunita Caylor, Kentucky Mining Institute State Mine Rescue Competition
Cody Birdwell, American Bandmasters Association Convention
Dave Harris, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Eastern Section Meeting
Mike McKenzie, Dream Factory Convention
Darrell Ismael, Dream Factory Convention
Leslie James, Southern Garden History Society Annual Meeting
Bluegrass Chapter ATHS, American Truck Historical Society Annual Convention & Truck Show
Senator Robert Stivers, Southern Legislative Conference
Beth Kraemer, Library Orientation Exchange Conference
Nicole Montgomery, Library Orientation Exchange Conference
Margaret Mohr-Schroeder, School Science and Mathematics Association Convention
Matt Chaliff, Kentucky Association FFA Convention
Tom and Connie Jones, Classic Car Club of America Southern Hospitality Tour
Larry Snipes, Southeastern Theatre Conference