By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
The Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet, set for Thursday, Jan. 31, will combine celebration with outreach — and both factors will be patriotic in nature.
This year’s banquet at Gainesville Civic Center is scheduled to feature guest speakers Rick Griffin and Sandi McKenna, whose last local visit resulted in the city’s contest-won title of “Most Patriotic Small Town in America” during summer 2012. The banquet will also feature catering by Sarah’s On The Square, plus Fuzzy’s Taco Shop. Social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner begins at 6:30 p.m.
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lynette Pettigrew said Griffin and McKenna may present video clips or other media related to the summer contest, but mainly they will answer the question of “Why Gainesville?”
“They’ll discuss what it was they saw that made us ‘the most patriotic town in America,’” Pettigrew said, adding that this achievement isn’t the chamber’s only one up for citation on Jan. 31. “We had a golf tournament for the first time and we did the economic luncheon in late December. And we had almost 50 new members in 2012; that’s good for a chamber our size. We’ll be celebrating the businesses we have and the economy of Gainesville.”
A second and new element to the banquet is the gathering of donated care packages, intended for shipment to soldiers overseas in early February. Chamber representatives recently distributed a list of items that banquet attendees can bring, and Pettigrew said the theme of the banquet seemed to make a fine fit for the notion of gathering donations.
“We honor men and women who serve our country,” she said. “Since we are doing a patriotic theme, that’s one of the first things we thought of, and we had recently done this for homeless veterans. This was another way we felt like we could give back to our servicemen and servicewomen. It’s what we do.”
Banquet tickets are $30 and table sponsorships are available in $400, $500 and $600 packages. For more information, call (940) 665-2831.
Attendees are encouraged to bring any of the following to the Jan. 31 banquet: beef jerky/Slim-Jims, coffee (instant or drip), hot chocolate packets, herbal teas, instant drink mixes, tuna (in pouches, not cans), pumpkin/sunflower seeds, protein powders/bars, chips/pretzels, gum and hard candy (must be individually wrapped), granola bars, Power Bars, cereal bars, cookies, trail mix, dried fruit, dried soup, nuts, microwaveable food, condiments (nothing in glass jars), oatmeal packs, cereal, chewing gum, travel-sized toiletries (baby wipes, hand sanitizer, body wash, facial cleanser, shampoo/conditioner, hair gel, combs/brushes, eye drops, nasal spray, deodorant, disposable razors, shaving cream (in tubes, not cans), first aid supplies, lip balm, sponges, tissues, sunblock, bug spray, mouthwash, toothpaste, toothbrushes and vitamins), breath mints, pain reliever tablets, cotton balls, cough drops, shoe insole cushions, batteries, DVD movies, XBox games, Playstation 2 games, portable CD players/headphones, pens and pencils, stationery and envelopes, sports equipment, disposable cameras, flash drives and games of any kind, including portable electronic games.