Carbondale Chamber Awards Banquet will forego all boring speeches
The 99th annual Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet is set for Feb. 19.
In what is one the chamber’s premier events of the year, attendees can expect a gala evening featuring a catered dinner, various activities, and, according to chamber Director Les O’Dell, no boring speeches.
“The banquet is one of the biggest events we do every year," O'Dell recently told the Southwest Illinois News."In this event, we celebrate achievement, success and what makes this a great place to live, play, work and invest."
He anticipates banquet attendance to be approximately 550. There will be an Olympic theme this year honoring the 2016 games in Rio De Janeiro.
The Carbondale Chamber of Commerce includes nearly 400 members, and its stated purpose is to “upgrade the socio-economic level of the area and to promote new and existing business and support entrepreneurial efforts and economic development in the Carbondale region.”
Among the awards that will be presented during the event are the Business of the Year, Regional Business of the Year, the President’s Service Award, Young Professional of the Year, Business Leader of the Year and Citizen of the Year. Also, O’Dell said the Carbondale Community of the Arts, a separate organization, will present its Keeping Arts in Business Award during the banquet.
Other activities at the event will include silent auctions and several raffles of jewelry items, with all the proceeds from the raffles going to scholarships for Carbondale community high school students who choose to go to Southern Illinois University (SIU). There also will be a reception before and after the main event, and an open bar.
The chamber's current president, as well as past presidents, will serve as emcees for the banquet, but don't expect any long-winded speeches.
"What makes our banquet unique is that there are no acceptance speeches," O'Dell said. "We’ve already conducted interviews with all of our award winners, who are not known to the public until that night. So we like to jokingly say that there are no boring speeches at our banquet. In fact the whole program will probably last about 75 minutes or so.”
In lieu of speeches, the award winners will be featured in a slideshow and audio presentation.
The Carbondale Chamber Annual Banquet will be held from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at the SIU Student Center. Individual tickets are $65, and tables of eight are discounted to $480.