by Madison V. Fisler
Feb. 11, 2014. This afternoon, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual awards ceremony in the Evergreen Room at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock.
After a delicious lunch provided by Chetola Resort, the awards ceremony commenced at 12:40 p.m. to a crowd of 143 people.
This is a huge jump from last year’s attendance, where only 101 people were in attendance according to Billie Rogers, events director at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.
The afternoon began with an address from Charles Hardin, the executive director of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce. After his speech, Cathy Robbins, President of the Board, addressed the crowd about the importance of cooperation in a town such as Blowing Rock.
“We have a lot of challenges but by collaborating, we can achieve our dreams and our goals,” Robbins said.
The 2014 theme for the Chamber is “collaborate.” To illustrate this theme, each table was given a puzzle piece and was asked to have someone from the table place the puzzle piece on the board in the front. When the pieces came together, they formed “collaborate.”
The 2014 nominees were announced earlier this month, and included more than 40 individuals, businesses and organizations nominated for many different awards.
The 2014 awards recipients were as follows. Descriptions courtesy of their respective nominations.
- Commercial Renovation or New Construction: The Blowing Rock Ale House – In 2012 the owners of Inn at Ragged Gardens and the owners of Blowing Rock Brewing company sat down to discuss a business plan to change the old Maple Lodge into a brewery, restaurant and inn. The concept evolved into The Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn. With the help of Baldwin builders Inc. and Kostis builders the property opened in June of 2013, complete with a restaurant, a state of the art 5 barrel brewery and eight guest rooms.
- Award for Cultural Enrichment: Ensemble Stage – In 2013 Ensemble Stage produced 11 different shows including the fifth annual installment of their holiday musical variety show, Christmas in Blowing Rock, five professional summer main stage productions and their regionally acclaimed anti-bullying children’s shows. There were a total of 41 performances for the 11 productions, 8 of which were sold out, and overall, Ensemble Stage averaged 93% audience capacity.
- Award for Service to the Community: Blowing Rock C.A.R.E.S – Blowing Rock C.A.R.E.S.’ mission is to help families in the greater Blowing Rock, North Carolina area that are in need with food, non-perishable items and clothing. Families do not have to go through a qualification process for help. They have worked diligently to raise money for families suffering through the illness of a child. They were also instrumental in creating the Adopt-A-Child program here in Blowing Rock for kids at Christmas.
- Award for Winter Wonderland Lighting: Mountainaire Inn and Log Cabins – This award is given to the business with the best lighting/winter themed décor during the new festive lighting period after the New Year created by the Blowing Rock Chamber.
- Customer Service Star of the Year: Richard Schreuer of Foggy Rock
- Volunteer of the Year: The Three Musketeers – Ann Barker, Lori Inman, & Denise Weinkle – the Three Musketeers of the Chamber’s volunteer database. When you ask these ladies to volunteer, you know it will be done quickly, precisely, and sometimes better than requested. These volunteers have worked Winterfest events, Wine Festival events, Symphony, and parades dressed as grapes! Working the Wine Festival’s Grand Tasting set up for the last 7 years, they know better what works and what doesn’t, what is missing, and when it needs to be ready! Always smiling, always singing the praises of the Chamber – these ladies are truly an asset to the Chamber of Commerce.
- Jerry Burns Ambassadorial Award: Barbara Wright – No one knows Blowing Rock better than Barbara. She is a long-time resident who was born here in 1933 and has been actively involved throughout her life. She sat on the Blowing Rock hospital board, was treasurer for the Chamber board for years, attends every Town Council meeting, is a member and past President of the Historical Society, serves on the Blowing Rock Appearance Advisory Commission and was on the board of the Blowing Rock Charity Horse Show Foundation. The list goes on and on. In the history of the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, there have only been two honorary members. Jerry Burns was one. Barbara Wright is the other.
- Special Recognition for Economic Impact: The Blowing Rock Horse Show
- Business of the Year: Blowing Rock Inn – Blowing Rock Inn helped with every single event that the Chamber organized last year including the Awards Banquet, Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, Art in the Park — every single thing. They have renovated their business to be green in most every way possible and have registered their business as an official wildlife habitat. They have about a 70% return business from their guests and even make arrangements to have catered events for their guests at their property or offsite. Ray is on the Town Council and sits on the wine festival committee. Melissa is a board member and is on the Membership Committee. Basically, if it needs to be done all you need to do is to ask Blowing Rock Inn.
Check out photos of the award ceremony here.
Photos by Madison V. Fisler