In December, the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce rescheduled its annual Chamber Celebration from Jan. 29 to May 15, hoping the coronavirus pandemic would be over by then.
But with the county still averaging more than a dozen cases a day, chamber officials have decided to pull the plug on this year’s awards show.
Candance Castlen Brake, chamber president, said that with pandemic restrictions on indoor events, the celebration wouldn’t have been what members have come to expect.
“We had 800 people last year,” she said. “Indoor events are still limited to 50% capacity. It just wouldn’t have been our signature event. It wouldn’t have been the same this year.”
So, like many events across the country, the Chamber Celebration will skip a year.
“We’re going to do it next January,” Brake said. “And we’re going to make it the best ever.”
She said earlier that there was no way to do the celebration as a virtual event.
“It is too important to celebrate the achievements of our membership and to do it in person,” Brake said earlier. “Our awards will continue to reflect the depth and reach of the chamber membership across the greater Owensboro region.”
The chamber awards began in 1986, when the organization presented its first “small business person of the year” award.
In 1992, it added the entrepreneur of the year category.
In 2002, the chamber split the small business honor into two categories, making a total of three awards.
The number has grown since then.
Five years ago, there were nine awards.
Last year, there were 11.
In January 2020, 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