2013-01-10 / Scene

Imlay City kicks off year with awards

810-452-2616 • pfoley@mihomepaper.com

Dueling Pianos International will perform at the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Dinner Dance on Saturday night. The event will include dinner, entertainment and an awards presentation. 
Photos provided Dueling Pianos International will perform at the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Dinner Dance on Saturday night. The event will include dinner, entertainment and an awards presentation. Photos provided IMLAY CITY — The Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce has already announced the winner of its 2012 Merit Award and 2012 Organization of the Year Award, but if you to be among the first to know the winner of the chamber’s prestigious Citizen of the Year Award, you’ll have to attend the Chamber’s Annual Dinner Dance Saturday night.

The doors open at 6 p.m. at Countryside Banquet Center, 596 South Cedar Street and tickets are still available.

Dana Walker, the chamber’s executive director, said she’s already sold 10 more tickets than last year’s total of 110 and she’s hoping to have 130 people at this year’s dinner dance. With room for up to 150 people, Walker said she’s “absolutely thrilled” by the responsive.

This year’s Merit Award recipient is a familiar face around Imlay City. Kelly Villanueva, who opened Kelly’s Pet Salon on Third Street in downtown Imlay City in 1999, is almost a permanent fixture at chamber events.

“Kelly is a tremendous asset to our community,” said Walker. “She is involved in a variety of events and organizations and is a board member for the Chamber and Downtown Development Authority.”

Villanueva also volunteers at the Historical Museum and is a member of the Imlay City Eagles. The Imlay City resident is among the first to donate to area charities and benefits throughout the year.

Pinnacle Foods Group, owner of Vlasic Foods, Imlay City’s largest single employer, will be presented with the chamber’s Organization of the Year award.

Imlay City came perilously close last year, too seeing a pickle making traditional that stretches back to the 1940s go sour. Pinnacle announced it was going to close one of two plants, but in the end, said Walker, thanks to the efforts of countless city, county and state officials and Vlasic employees at the Imlay City plant Pinnacle executives choose Imlay City over Millsboro, De.

“The importance of Pinnacle Foods to Imlay City cannot be overstated,” said Walker. “They are a key employer to our region, a great supporter of community events and a source of pride for our city.”

The chamber of commerce has been naming a citizen of the year since 1974. Recent honorees have included Walt Baren, 2011; Bob Muir, 2010; Kim Jorgensen, 2009; and Ted Collom, 2008. The award recognizes the recipient’s lifetime achievement, representation and contributions to the community of Imlay City.

Following the award presentation, dinner dance attendees will be treated to the live entertainment of Dueling Pianos provided by Dueling Pianos International. The show, said Walker is a high energy, all request, sing along, clap along, rock n’ roll, comedy piano show where the audience is just as much a part of the show as the entertainers. The performance is sponsored by Lapeer County Bank & Trust.

“The evening will be full of energy and excitement,” said Walker. “Along with the announcement of the Citizen of the Year and the Dueling Pianos we will have several raffles for some great prizes.”

Capac State Bank and Frontier Communications are sponsoring a raffle for an iPad2. “Only 54 tickets will be sold during the Dinner Dance so a person has really good odds at walking away with an iPad,” said Walker.

Almont’s Country Smoke House will raffle off a year of meat for the chamber. Walker said, “One lucky winner will receive a free Country Smoke House meat product (with some restrictions) every week for one year.”

Vintech Industries is sponsoring a “Lottery Tree” drawing. The winner will take home a “tree” with more than 80 Michigan scratch-off lottery tickets hung from its branches.

Tickets to the Dinner Dance are $40 and include appetizers, dinner, dessert, cash bar and live entertainment. Tickets may be purchased a the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce office, 150 North Main Street, or Trendsetters Salon, 1809 South Cedar Street. Trendsetters Salon will accept payment by credit card. Raffle tickets will only be sold during the Dinner Dance.

For more information regarding the Dinner Dance, please contact Dana Walker at 810-724-1361 or visit www.imlaycitymich.com. For information regarding Dueling Pianos International, visit www.duelingpianoshows.com.

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