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Chamber hosts installation dinner

Posted: Tuesday, Feb 7th, 2017

Citizen of the Year Bonnie Johnson, center, is recognized at the dinner. (Photo by Ruth Ann Angus)

MORRO BAY — The Flapper Days of the Roaring 20s came back to life the night of Friday, January 20th at the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce Installation Dinner at the Community Center. Men in black suits and fedoras and women in low waist dresses, beads, and headbands with feathers enjoyed a welcome cocktail when they came through the door. Mug shot photos were shot in the photo booth before everyone stepped into the softly lit main dining room where the Seaweed Vipers were wailing out tunes from the 1920s era. Tables dressed with black cloths and graced with cut flower centerpieces had appropriate name cards like Gin Fizz, and Fitzgerald.

Servers walked around the room offering hors d’oeuvres of cucumber with smoked salmon and dill and ham and cheese croquettes. On one side of the room silent auction items were spread out on a long table making it convenient for guests to make their bids. A wine station held sway in the rear of the room with staff from Morro Bay Wine Sellers pouring and Libertine Brewing Company offered beer. The Wine Shine Distillery and Yes Cocktail Company station offered Hibiscus Rose Winter Punch, Orange Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Spiced Morro Mule.

Dinner was served buffet style with food from Chef Tim Veatch that included a Kale Waldorf Salad that made kale taste great! The main course consisted of Braised Beef Provencal, Winter Squash, Potato Lyonnaise, and Roasted Broccolini. There was plenty to eat and all of it tasted wonderful. Maybe the best thing was dessert, Profiteroles, French cream puffs.

Relaxing with brewed coffee from Top Dog Coffee Bar guests enjoyed the program with a presentation by Erica Crawford, CEO/President of the Chamber and Cyndee Edwards, Board Chairperson. Edwards who served last year is staying on for 2017. Installation of the 2017 Board of Directors came next. An encouraging talk from Mayor Jamie Irons welcomed the new board and all Chamber members. A live auction emceed by Joshua Bergren and Doug Showalter brought in generous funds for the Chamber.

The final part of the program was what everyone was waiting for, honoring the Living Treasure of 2016, Student Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, and Citizen of the Year for 2016.

Morro Bay High School Principal Dr. Kyle Pruitt spoke about and introduced Cassidy Orszag as Student Citizen of the Year. Orszag who has participated in Rotary through Interact and desires one day to be a Kindergarten teacher, graciously accepted her awards with a short but very well given thank-you speech.

Nancy Castle, 2015 Living Treasure, spoke about Delores Jorge, the 2016 Living Treasure who unfortunately could not attend the dinner due to a recent accident. Castle, in her inimitable fashion, promised that a future article about Jorge would appear in this paper with this writer doing an in-person interview and I look forward to fulfilling that promise so the community will get to know Jorge. Her grandsons came forward to accept the award.

Cyndee Edwards announced Business of the Year winner, Sunshine Health Food Store and Shine Café. A somewhat tearful, but endearing, speech by owner Greg Barnard, had everyone smiling. It was noted by Greg that he started with five employees and now employs 30 people, truly a business success story.

Last year’s Citizens of the Year, Sharon O’Leary and Susan Stewart introduced the 2016 Citizen of the Year, Bonnie Johnson. Johnson brought to fruition the BMX Bike Park on Main Street that kids and adults now enjoy in Morro Bay. Johnson thanked everyone and then posed with members of the awards committee.

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