The annual Kingdom of Callaway Chamber of Commerce banquet will see a change of venue this year.
In years past, the banquet has usually been held at either William Woods University or Westminster College, but this year the Auto World Museum in Fulton will host the chamber members. Any member can attend the banquet, which will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28, if a $25 ticket is purchased from the chamber.
Nancy Lewis, executive director of the chamber, said the annual meeting is when the board officers officially change.
"The presidents get to talk about the year ahead and the year behind," Lewis said.
Clint Smith, outgoing chamber president, said he wishes the incoming president, Stan Crawford, the best.
"There's no doubt Mr. Crawford is going to do a wonderful job for the chamber," Smith said.
From 6-7 p.m. the banquet will provide cocktails and entertainment by "The Bubbas" band from Columbia. Lewis said the band will play 50s music. At 7 p.m. dinner will be served and the program will start at around 7:45 p.m.
Smith said the chamber gained membership in 2010 even though financial times were tough.
"I think the year went as good as it could have went for the times we're in," he said.
Lewis reported there were 303 members at the beginning of 2010 and 354 by year's end. Smith said one "ray of confidence" the chamber experienced in 2010 was the news that Callaway Nuclear Plant may be adding a second reactor. He said with lawmakers trying to get legislation through in favor of building a second unit at the Ameren plant, it was "perfect timing" for Crawford to step aboard the chamber. Crawford is the plant's emergency response coordinator and has worked at the plant for 30 years.
Besides switching out board members, the chamber will also present awards at the banquet. Awards include: the J.H. Atkinson Award, which is for someone who has made a contribution to the community by means not through the person's "vocational career;" the Loyal Subject Award, which has almost the same requirements as the Atkinson, except there's no restrictions about whether the contribution could be through the person's career or not; the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Award, for individuals or businesses that have made consistent contributions to the chamber; and the Allen Conner Youth Award, to be given to a high school student or youth organization for community service.