A cross section of Eureka's most prominent businesspeople gathered Tuesday night at the Inn of the Ozarks to celebrate the 62nd annual Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce membership meeting and awards banquet.
Hosted by Chamber President/CEO Mike Bishop and Board Chairman George Purvis, serenaded by the Phillippe Family String Quarter and fed with Chicken Marsala, the evening honored a range of individuals who have and continue to work to improve the community.
"I am extremely proud of the wide array of businesses and organizations which have come together this past year to allow the Chamber to reach out and help the community," Bishop said.
In addition to an extensive list of items available in a silent auction, a very un-silent auction provided the night's best entertainment, with David Teigen of Teigen/McGhee Insurance Agency teasing hundreds of dollars from bidders lured by his Cajun auctioneering abilities.
Nominated for Hospitality Person of the Year were Carol Friesen of Tummy Ticklers, Becky Reeves-Heath of Hart's Family Grocery, Charlene McCain of Simply Scrumptious and Michelle McDonald of Eureka Van Tours.
The winner was McDonald, whose costume clothing shop is familiar to all Eurekans who have ever participated in any of the parades or other events requiring historical costuming in town.
"I shouldn't say this, but I will," said Bishop by way of introduction. "Probably every one of you has been in her clothes at one time or another."
McDonald was all smiles as she accepted the award.
The Artist of the Year, which awards anyone working in any of the arts locally, was musician/singer Karen FitzPatrick. The other nominees this year were author/artist Valerie Hubbard Damon, photographer Jeremy McGraw and Sandy Martin, president of the Dairy Hollow Writers Colony Board of Directors.
The Civil Service Award nominees were CAPC Director Mike Maloney, who was in attendance, as well as Eureka Springs Police Detective Thomas Acord and Lana Gordon of the Carroll County Courthouse. Acord, who was out solving a crime, was not able to accept the award personally; in his stead was retired detective Mayor Morris Pate.
The Woman of the Year nominees were many and varied, including Carla Short, owner of Can-U-Canoe at Riverview Cabins, Jacqueline Wolven of the Eureka Springs Downtown Network, Melodye Purdy, owner of the Purdy Art Company and Amanda Haley, administrative/marketing assistant at 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa.
Purdy was the startled but happy winner.
The Man of the Year this year included UPS driver Robbie Freiburger, Mayor Morris Pate and Dan Mumaugh of the Carroll County Community Foundation, but the award went to well-known artist and community art leader Zeek Taylor.
Community First Bank as a group accepted the Business of the Year award. The other nominees were Cornerstone Bank and W.T. Fockers Discount Outlet.
The Eureka Springs Rotary received a Special Recognition Award for its good work in the community.
The Eureka Springs Lifetime Spirit Award was given to journalist Becca Martin-Brown.
Finally, a new award, the Lifetime Service Award, was awarded posthumously to the late Inn of the Ozarks owner and longtime resident Dave Bird, who passed away October 3 and was accepted by members of his family.