GREENSBURG – Unfortunately, the Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce will not be able to hold an in-person event for its annual membership meeting and awards banquet this year; however, that doesn’t mean the Chamber will not be presenting those deserving awards, including the coveted Don Horan Community Service Leader of the Year Award. This Community Service Leader Award has been presented every year since 1975 to deserving individuals who have gone above and beyond to make Decatur County a better place.

The Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors decided to hold its annual banquet virtually, citing too many unknowns regarding the current health crisis and COVID-19 pandemic.

“The board felt that with the Coronavirus and approaching flu season there is just too much risk at an in-person event of this size may have to be cancelled on short notice,” Chamber Board President Jason Barbieri said. “Plus, the fact that someone could possibly become infected at an event like this also weighed heavily on the board. The last thing any organization or event organizer wants to be remembered for is the spreading of a virus such as Coronavirus.”

Even though the banquet will not be held in-person, the show will still go on as a virtual event starting at 7 p.m. Nov. 19. The Chamber is doing everything it can to make it a first class and memorable program.

Following a brief member and board meeting where the Chamber must conduct year-end business including the election of the board of directors for next year, awards will be presented in three different categories. Besides the Don Horan Community Service Leader of the Year Award, the Chamber will also present the Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as the $1,000 Small Business Grant winner to a Chamber member in good standing who has been selected by a committee.

As a bonus throughout the event, the Chamber is also hosting a “Happy Hour” event thanks to the commitment from several business sponsors.

The first 100 people to register to attend the event will be given a swag box with goodies inside that will go along with the Happy Hour theme. The goodies will include the necessary cocktail ingredients for each person registered to follow along as the Chamber’s guest bartender demonstrates the proper way to make the cocktails. The ingredients for the cocktails are provided courtesy of Rocco’s Beverage Junction in New Point and Rocco’s Midway Liquor in Westport. Attendees must be 21 years or older to receive the swag box.

Also included in the box will be a 15-ounce drink glass courtesy of the event sponsor of the night, Levenstein’s Abbey Carpet. Attendees will be able to use this glass for their beverage.

The actual swag box is sponsored by Shirk’s International, The Lincoln Street Business Center and The Studebaker Studio.

The Chamber has enlisted the services of former Greensburg resident and former professional boxer Craig Houk, founder and CEO of the Indiana Boxing Hall of Fame, who also serves as a professional bartender at the Holiday Inn Cocktail Lounge in Carmel. Houk, known for his flair and ability to put on a show for guests visiting his lounge, will mix three separate cocktails throughout the evening while demonstrating his style of bartending.

The Chamber has secured the services of Chamber member Daniel Fayette & Co. to help produce certain segments of the event.

“All things considered, we believe attendees of the Chamber’s virtual annual banquet will be entertained and enjoy the show all while honoring businesses and carrying on the Chamber’s tradition of honoring an outstanding contributor to our community,” Barbieri said.

Barbieri said Chambers of Commerce have not been included in any federal relief programs since the pandemic started in February. The local Chamber has been extremely active and played a vital role locally during the crisis, and considering the organization is still membership based and not supported by tax funding, there will be a charge to attend.

“The Chamber’s events have been impacted much like this annual event is and the board of directors believe it is not asking too much to place a minor charge to attend. This will help cover the added expenses the Chamber incurs to present these awards and we believe our attendees will understand our situation, ” Barbieri said

The price to attend the virtual event is $25 per person. The Chamber is encouraging people to organize small in-home gatherings to watch the presentation. The Chamber is offering a $5 per person discount to those registered by Nov. 6. The first 100 people to register will receive the swag box from Chamber sponsors.

Online registration is open at www.greensburgchamber.com or by contacting the Chamber at 812-663-2832 or email at execdirector@greensburgchamber.com.

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