For the first time in 28 years, Downtown Springfield Inc. held its annual dinner and awards ceremony in a virtual format on Jan. 21. Tickets for the event — the biggest fundraiser of the year to support downtown revitalization — included takeout from one of six downtown restaurants, the option to add on a cocktail kit and access to the program.

DSI’s 2021 Annual Dinner, “DSI & Chill,” was produced by Crowdson Creative and hosted by siblings Lauren Nevius and Chris Davis of Resource One, a member since DSI was founded in 1993. Special guest appearances were made by Mayor Jim Langfelder, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton, State Treasurer Michael Frerichs and DSI board president Brian Wojcicki.

DSI presented eleven awards during the program, including DSI’s Wally Henderson Lifetime Achievement Award. The 2020 recipient is Dennis Bringuet, retired president of Ace Sign Company, who served on the board of directors when DSI was founded, including serving as the organization’s third President. Bringuet also served as the first chair of DSI’s Image and Design Committee, which focuses on beautification and art.

“Our Downtown is the heartbeat of our community and we thank DSI for keeping it strong,” said Bringuet, upon receiving the award.

Bringuet currently serves as advisor to the board of directors for The Route 66 Scenic Byway and is a member of the NFIB Illinois Leadership Council. He also is on the Steering Committee for the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln’s visioning process, “The Next 10.”

Other downtown people and places being recognized with 2020 awards include:

  • Best Retail: Wild Rose
  • Best Restaurant: Jerk Shop Go
  • Best Nightlife: Adams Family Patio
  • Best Creative Promotion: Dumb Record’s Downtown Pinball Tournament
  • Best Facade: Ascend
  • Best Overall Renovation: Illinois Treasurer’s Office
  • Best Business to Business Collaboration: Willow & Birch with multiple businesses
  • Most Adaptive Business Pivot: Incredibly Delicious
  • Downtown Advocate: Mark Forinash
  • Volunteer of the Year: Jim Morris