Clearwater Awards Gala rolls out the red carpet

Chamber of Commerce looks to breathe some new life into the organization

The Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce (COC) is looking to step up its awards show this year with a red carpet themed event.

Kalen Jones of the Gateway Grill has been enlisted as the event planner and said the COC wants to use the Clearwater Awards Gala, which takes place March 27 at the Clearwater Ski Lodge, to breathe some new life into the organization.

“This year the Chamber wants to use this dinner to help kickstart and revitalize the group in Clearwater because it’s always been here, but a lot of people actually don’t know a lot about it,” said Jones.

“So we want this to be more exciting, pump people up, and give a new form of engagement, networking and connecting with other business owners, that’s the goal.”

Jennifer Selbee, COC treasurer and event committee chair, said the awards are a way to recognize and celebrate the small businesses, citizens and youth of Clearwater.

Jones added this year the dinner portion will be untraditional compared to previous local awards events, planning it as more of a stand-up arrangement instead of the usual sitdown meals, though tables will be provided for seniors and those with mobility issues.

The use of cocktail tables and a slider bar will encourage more mingling and networking as opposed to keeping guests stationary at individual tables and when its time for the awards, organizers will roll out the red carpet and place chairs in more of a theatre-style arrangement.

“It’s like Clearwater’s version of Emmys with red carpet photos upon entering, the awards will be done, then afterward there’ll be deserts and more mingling. We really want people to mingle and engage with each other,” Jones said, adding the red carpet photos will be done by Indigo Thyme Imagery.

“We want people to feel very special and important and really make it exciting. Then we want to keep the ball rolling, and follow up with a couple of other events through the year.”

Nominations are open until March 13. This year the COC will be getting help on voting from dignitaries such as Mayor Merlin Blackwell as well as representatives from Clearwater Secondary School’s junior council and a select few of the directors from the COC. All the sponsors are also invited to be part of the voting committee.

The categories are as follows:

Citizen — Awarded to an individual for their remarkable and significant community contribution, in a non-paid position. By way of action, this individual has had a positive impact in the community making Clearwater a better place to live.

Youth — Awarded to youth (ages 12-17) for their remarkable and significant community contribution, in a non-paid position. By way of action, this individual has had a positive impact in the community making Clearwater a better place to live.

Employee — Presented to an employee within a business who demonstrates a consistent commitment to providing Customer Service Excellence that truly “Wows” the customer by encouraging and inspiring the community to shop locally.

Rookie Business — Awarded to a business (large, small or home-based) for outstanding effort and commitment in their first 18 months of business. This award is intended to highlight and encourage awareness of new businesses in our community.

Business — Recognizing overall business excellence and achievement. Business owner (and staff) consistently demonstrate a commitment to excellence and have demonstrated strong business growth and development practices that are a role model for other businesses. One business from each of these categories will be selected to receive the Business award.

Accommodation — to include BnB’s, Guesthouses, Hotels, Motels, and Air BnB.

Eatery and watering hole — Restaurants, cafés, and food service providers.

Tourism experience — Service providers: guides, outfitters, adventure tourism.

Retail excellence — All retail stores.

Service excellence — Service providers (repair, hairdressing, aesthetician, towing, contractors, etc.)

Nomination forms can be found on the Clearwater and District Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Tickets for the event are $45 each and available at Buy-Low Foods. For more information on tickets and nominating, visit or call 250-674-3530 ext. 112.

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