Stars shine at annual Yukon Chamber gala

375 people attend 'A Night Among the Stars' festivities

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For the Yukon Chamber Gala & Awards Banquet, Yellow Rose Entertainment provided impersonators for "A Night Among the Stars" entertainment. Left to right are Louis Armstrong and Dean Martin, and far right Marilyn Monroe, with Lynn and Angel Soriano of K9 University. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)
Otis Davenport (center) is congratulated after winning the Yukon Chamber Ambassador of the Year award at the Yukon Chamber Gala & Awards Banquet. Davenport is flanked by last year’s winner, Yukon Chamber Board Member Lynn North, and Yukon Chamber President Tim Ingram, who earned the Small Business of the Year award. (Photo by Jack Hinton)

By Conrad Dudderar

Associate Editor

Some 375 Yukon business and community leaders walked the red carpet while rubbing shoulders with a few Hollywood elites during “A Night Among the Stars.”

Presentation of annual awards highlight the Yukon Chamber of Commerce’s Jan. 31st gala inside the Palace Event Center, 2310 N Banner Road. The banquet serves as the chamber’s largest annual fundraiser.

A video presentation served as the official announcement of the Yukon Chamber’s annual award recipients:

H.B. Frank Citizen of the Year: Judy Austin

T.J. Lowery Humanitarian of the Year: Dr. Heather Barnes

Ben Martin, on the right, wins the Yukon Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year award at the Jan. 31st Yukon Chamber Gala & Awards Banquet “A Night Among the Stars.” Handing Martin his award is Yukon Chamber Board of Directors member Jay Emory, president of BancFirst Yukon. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Volunteer of the Year: Ben Martin

Large Business of the Year: Yukon Public Schools

Small Business of the Year: Ingram, Smith & Turner Mortuary

Ambassador of the Year: Otis Davenport

Enjoying Friday night’s Yukon Chamber Gala & Awards Banquet, held at the Palace Event Center, 2310 N. Banner Rd., are left to right, LaDonna Howard and Jason Howard, co-owners of Electrical Service Professionals, Zach Croney, Electrical Service Professionals electrician, and Breanna Howard, Electrical Service Professionals mgr. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Austin is featured in a story on page 1A of today’s Yukon Progress. Other award winners will be highlighted in upcoming editions.

Another gala highlight were performances by several celebrity impersonators. Dean Martin and Louis Armstrong sang for the audience and were joined by Marilyn Monroe in photos with guests.

Festivities also included a silent auction, trip raffles and dinner provided by Spanish Cove Catering.

Yukon Chamber of Commerce ambassadors Andrea Griffin (left) and Rae James partake in the gala festivities. (Photo by Jack Hinton)

The 2020 Yukon Chamber of Commerce president, Tim Ingram, addressed the audience after a ceremonial “passing of the gavel.”

“Tonight, we are here among the stars,” Ingram told the attentive audience. “Who are the stars? You. Each and every one of you are the stars of Yukon.”

In reflecting on the past year, Ingram said 103 new members joined the Yukon Chamber of Commerce to increase membership to 540.

Among the approximately 375 people at the gala are Kim Peffer, on the left, co-owner of Avery Joes Boutique, and Desiree Reid, owner of Urban Boondocks Market. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

Gala attendance also increased significantly, from 307 at last year’s “Tennis Shoes & Tuxedos” themed-event to 375 this time around.

“This growth is attributed to each one of you, as you have promoted, encouraged and motivated other businesses to shine alongside of you as members,” the 2020 Yukon Chamber president said. “This chamber exists to support each and every one of you to succeed in Yukon as a

Yukon Chamber of Commerce President-Elect Jill Huff, of Spanish Cove, and former District 43 State Rep. AnnaBelle Wiedemann (a Spanish Cove resident) discuss the auction items at the banquet. (Photo by Carol Mowdy Bond)

business.”

Other annual Yukon Chamber gala highlights were the golf tournament, Fantanza 500 Carnival, Yukon Community Profile, Yukon Yuletide Express, and monthly membership luncheons.

Average attendance at the Friday morning Yukon Community Coffee has soared from about 80 to 130.

“The connection made here benefits both personal and professional relationships,” Ingram said.