Add the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce’s annual Meeting and Awards Ceremony to the list of events that have been altered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Around this time of the year, Chamber President Jeff Say explained that the annual awards ceremony would normally be held in a banquet room with about 350 attendees. With the upward trend in coronavirus cases and lack of available venues, however, the Chamber has been forced to rethink how the event will unfold.
A decision was arrived upon to host the event virtually at 6 p.m. Nov. 19 and broadcast it live on Facebook, YouTube and Culpeper Media Network.
Awards handed out will include small business of the year, agro business of the year, entrepreneur of the year, large business of the year, nonprofit of the year, young professional of the year and the L.B. Henretty Memorial Outstanding Citizen Award.
Amy Fraizer, Chamber event coordinator, said the virtual aspect will provide a cool new dynamic as it will feature both a live broadcast and videos pre-filmed at award-winners’ businesses “so you get an inside look of who they are and what their business is.” This, she said, will “go a lot deeper than finding out you won, standing up there and giving a speech in front of 350 people.”
Say agreed, saying the virtual event will give “us a chance to highlight what they’re doing in a natural setting.” He added that anyone can tune in online and learn about those who have gone above and beyond to make positive impacts on the community.
Along with the awards, Frazier noted that “it’s an opportunity for us to talk about the successes of Culpeper in 2020.”
“Obviously we are all familiar with the challenges that we face, but this is an opportunity for us to highlight what we’ve been doing in the community and what the community has been doing this past year,” Frazier said.
The event is usually the Chamber’s largest fundraiser, with about $20,000 generated through ticket, alcohol and raffle sales. This year, Say explained the focus has shifted from fundraising to highlighting the Chamber’s and its members’ positive contributions to the community.
To offset some of the lost fundraising money, the Chamber is hosting a silent auction Nov. 13-17 with items that Say said are “some great packages that include products that highlight the best that Culpeper has to offer.”
With every item valued at over $200, the silent auction includes a disc golf experience with professional disc golfer Stephen Miller, a guided kayak tour of Lake Pelham from Friends of the Rappahannock, a Narmada Vineyard experience, a Belmont Farm Distillery package, a power outage and storm survival basket from All Install, a Culpeper Car Wash membership and a BGA handheld leaf blower set.
To bid, visit culpeperchamber.betterworld.org.