Chamber awards to have 1920s theme

By Rachel Segura Journal staff writer

The Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce is no wet blanket. The annual Chamber awards is the biggest event of the year and they're set to entertain dames, dolls or any live wire out there. As always, residents are keen to find out who in Cortez will be named the big cheese.

In other words, they're ready, once again, to recognize community leaders, businesses, groups and individuals by honoring those residents who were influential and amicable to the community in 2012.

The Chamber strives to make each year's ceremony special and memorable. This year, the event will be held in a new Cortez venue - the Millennium Center for the Performing Arts, located at 20 W. Main, in the month of March. A firm date for the event has not yet been determined.

The theme will be "Speakeasy" and is open for everyone in the community to attend. There will be games of chance, prizes and heavy hors d'oeuvres. The ambience for the ceremony will feel like stepping into the 1920s prohibition era, complete with a password to gain entrance to the hottest joint in town.

Dena Guttridge, executive director of the Cortez Area Chamber of Commerce, wants to encourage attendees to dress up and be festive.

"This is not a typical sit down, formal event," Guttridge said. "We want to create a buzz and excitement, and get people talking. That's what the chamber is about."

For more than 50 years, the Cortez chamber has been acknowledging people in the area for exemplified excellence in their field.

The Cortez awards began with a simple Business of the Year Award and has steadily grown throughout the years. Last year, a total of six awards were given: Citizen of the Year, Agribusiness of the Year, Green Business of the Year and the Unsung Hero Award, Excellence in Service Delivery Award and Excellence in Innovation.

Guttridge said that the awards differ from year to year. Last year they noticed two awards were similar to one another and nominations coming in were of the same business or group. This year they reduced the categories to five: Cortez Journal's Citizen of the Year, Dad and Daughter's Agribusiness of the Year, Empire Electric's Green Business of the Year, The Four Corners Character Council's Volunteer of the Year and Dolores State Bank's Unsung Hero Award.

The awards given are always under the same category but are denoted by the sponsor for that year.

Guttridge added that this event is a perfect opportunity for the community to meet the people who are involved with the town and honor "these tremendous people who do great things in our community."

Tickets for the Chamber awards will be $30 apiece and will go up to $35 closer to the event date, provided there are any left. There is a limited number and they are expected to sell quickly.

The Chamber wants to encourage citizens to put their nominations in as soon as possible. Nomination forms can be picked up and dropped off at the Chamber. There is also a link for the online form on the Chamber's website at

Nominations can be dropped off without picking up a form. Simply write down the nominee's name, phone number, address and reason for their nomination. Also include the name and phone number of the person giving the nomination.

Guttridge said they have not received as many nominations as they would like. Who will be considered the cat's meow of Cortez? Get your nominations in quickly to find out.

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