Chamber moves awards show to May

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce had scheduled its annual Chamber Celebration at the RiverPark Center for Jan. 29.

But coronavirus is still raging in the region, with 119 new cases and two deaths in Daviess County reported on Thursday.

So, the annual awards show has been moved to May 15.

Candance Castlen Brake, the chamber’s president and CEO, said, “As the team discussed options, we realized that this event cannot be virtual. It is too important to celebrate the achievements of our membership and to do it in person.”

She said, “So we looked at the calendar and decided to plant our flag in May. That is traditionally Small Business Month. We have done our best to schedule around potential community events and Derby Weekend. We feel extremely confident that by May 15, a large part of our community will be vaccinated.”

Brake said the celebration had been in December for decades.

“But as December became a busier month for people, the event was moved to January back in the early 2010s,” she said. “Since then, we have had it in the last of January.

Now, that’s changed.

But Brake said, “Our awards will continue to reflect the depth and reach of the chamber membership across the Greater Owensboro region. And we are considering the possibilities of adding new awards specific to this year.”

She said, “Each year, our team tries to build a better event. I have no doubt that this year, with so much struggle behind us by May, that we will be ready to join together and truly celebrate the contributions of members — from small businesses such as restaurants, pubs and retail to larger businesses like food production and manufacturing to our education partners and our nonprofits.”

Brake said, “Every sector we serve and represent has not only been impacted, they have done their part to move our community through one of the most defining moments in our lifetime.”

Last year, awards went to the chamber member of the year, ambassador of the year, director of the year, business of the year (one to 10 employees), business of the year (11 to 50 employees), business of the year (51-plus employees), emerging business of the year, nonprofit of the year, education & workforce development, the Rick Kamuf agri-business of the year and manufacturing business of the year.

By: Keith Lawrence Messenger-Inquirer