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Chamber planning 97th annual dinner and dance

PLATTSBURGH - The Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce has held its annual dinner and dance for nearly a century, with the organization celebrating the 97th year of the tradition this month.

This year the event, sponsored by HSBC, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Unicel, will be held Friday, Jan. 23 at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh's Angell Center Ballroom, with a tropical paradise theme. Cocktails will be held at 5:30 p.m., buffet dinner at 7 p.m., followed by dancing.

"The highlight of the evening is when we announce the Business of the Year, and the Small Business of the Year, and the Businessperson of the Year, and the Volunteer of the Year," said chamber executive vice president Jody Parks.

All winners are chamber members, Parks added, with different winners chosen every year.

"And it's a surprise every year," Parks said. "It's just a chance to honor them for the great things they've done all year."

The dinner and dance is also a time in which the previous year's chairman is recognized with a plaque, and the new chairman will get a chance to meet people.

"John VanNatten is the new chairman," Parks said. "He'll definitely be saying 'hello' to everyone."

If looking to add even more fun to the evening, Parks suggests getting into the theme of the event.

"We started themes probably 13 or 14 years ago. Just to give people some sort of entertainment value," said Parks. "And people find that fun and some people will get all dressed up for it and other people will just wear what they would normally wear for a night out. It's one of those things people can choose to participate in or not but it makes it a lot of fun."

The event stays with the tropical theme, having pineapple and ham available during the buffet dinner, but Parks said other options will be available, including vegetarian dishes.

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