No, it wasn’t a grand gala, but the 99th-annual Great Bend Chamber of Commerce celebration held virtually Saturday night proved there was much to be proud of in 2020, despite the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, said chamber Executive Director Megan Barfield.
Along with recognizing Citizen of the Year of the Year Randy Smith, Business of the Year Mind Sculpt Games, owned by Daniel and Darcy Leech, and Andrea Bauer as Next Generation Leader of the Year, the virtual event also hosted several speakers.
Scott Donovan, Shannon Stafford and Matt McBain of Eagle Radio served as the emcees. Before the program began, Stafford demonstrated a signature cocktail recipe, and there was a recognition of the sponsors.
Laura Blankenship performed the National Anthem for the vent.
During the event, Barfield spoke on the Chamber heading into its centennial year. The special guest speaker was Shea Carpenter from The Renzo Experience’s Aligned Leader Master Series. The Barton County Young Professionals group was represented by Steering Chairperson Haley Ruble and Steering Committee member Julie Mazouch. Chamber Ambassador Club President Rich Baskerville from First Kansas Bank also spoke, and Chamber Board Chairman Pete Weisner also spoke on the Chamber’s Vision for 2021.
The event was pre-recorded, but broadcast live for all registrants. They received exclusive access via a password-protected page to view the it from their homes.
The award recipients were told in advance, but kept the honors a closely guarded secret until Saturday. These presentations recorded like sweepstakes surprise awards and included in the stream.
The Great Bend Chamber was formed in 1921, and they are using this year as lead-in to the centennial observance. That celebration will take place at next year’s festivities.
For information on the chamber, visit greatbend.org or call 620-792-2401.