ALPENA - The Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce is preparing for its marquee event, the annual chamber of commerce dinner. The event, which takes place Feb. 21 at 5:30 p.m. at the APlex, provides members of the chamber and the community to come together for a night to recognize the outstanding people and businesses in the area.
Executive Director Jackie Krawczak said the dinner provides the chamber an avenue to share chamber news, present awards and thank its members and the community.
"We talk about where the chamber has been, where we are going, give out some business awards and announce the outstanding citizen of the year," Krawczak said. "This year's theme is 'Building a Better Community One Business at a Time' and I believe Alpena is doing just that right now."
Last year former Mayor Carol Shafto was the citizen of the year and Krawczak said this year there was a handful of nominations. Krawczak said she can't reveal who the winner is until the dinner, but that the winner is very deserving of the distinction. She said anyone can nominate a candidate and then the chamber board examines certain criteria to determine the winner.
"We had five nominees this year and then we have a committee go over the nominations and look at volunteer service, community involvement, professional accomplishment and achievements and moral and ethical standards," Krawczak said. "We have a way they are ranked and that is how the winner is determined."
There are several other awards that will be given. Presentations will be made for the Business of the Year Award, Outstanding Customer Service Award, the Up and Coming Award and the Culture Change Agent Award.
Krawczak said there are going to be some government officials on hand at the event as long as representatives from Alpena County Regional Airport's new air service provider.
"It has been confirmed that there will be somebody from SkyWest there, which is really cool that they are involved in our community like that," Krawczak said. "We will have legislators or their aids from Congressman (Dan) Benishek's office, Rep. (Peter) Pettalia's office, (Sen.) John Moolenaar and Sen. (Carl) Levin's office. I believe Sen. (Debbie) Stabenow's office as well is scheduled to attend."
The event was held at the APlex last year and one half of it was filled. Krawczak said the event has become so popular that this year the event called for more room.
"It has become so popular that we have had to rent both rooms at the APlex because last year we went over the capacity," Krawczak said. "The event is still two weeks out but ticket sales are way ahead of where we thought we would be, so we expect it to be a record crowd again this year."
The cost of the event is $30 per person and a dinner will be provided and a cash bar available for cocktails. They are available at the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce in Alpena.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5689.