Fairbury Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 100th year with annual banquet

Fairbury Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 100th year with annual banquet
Community members from over 30 local businesses, and their guests, gather at the Fairbury Elks Lodge on Friday night for the annual Fairbury Chamber of Commerce banquet. The chamber is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.

FAIRBURY, NE – 2019 is a milestone year for Fairbury.

Not only is the town turning 150 years old, but the Fairbury Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 100th year in existence Friday with the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet at the Fairbury Elk’s Lodge.

“Just like anything, it takes weeks and weeks of planning,” Chamber President Paige Boeckner said. “A lot of really careful execution. We enjoy every minute of it. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding to do this for the community.”

The night was highlighted by the presentation of the Volunteer of the Year and Community Service Awards.

C.B. and Shannon Snider of Totally Smoked BBQ were named Volunteers of the Year, an award given to someone for their time helping chamber activities.

The Community Service Award was presented to Lana Likens, who serves as the Public Relations director for Jefferson Community Health and Life, and has for many years.

The Community Service Award is annually presented to an individual or group that volunteers their time, talents, and services to the betterment of the community.

“We had a really great slate of nominees,” Boeckner said. “We’re really lucky in that way to have so many generous people in town. We couldn’t be a community without them. We’re lucky to have them, and can’t say enough great things about the nominees.”

The banquet also featured a live and silent auction, with a large amount of the proceeds being donated to the Hope Crisis Center’s ‘Building Hope Capital Campaign.’

The campaign’s intent is to help pay for renovations of a building at 5th and F Streets in Fairbury, which will feature two secure apartment-style shelters, trauma-informed client spaces and administrative offices.

The Hope Crisis Center took out a $550,000 loan from the USDA this past fall, which they’re looking to pay back from their charitable donations over the next 2-3 years.

Over $127,000 had already been raised by the end of Nov. 2018.

“This cause is really important to us,” Boeckner said. “We just thought, what better way to serve the community than support those less fortunate in it and those maybe in a bad situation? We’re very happy to be able to help them.”

The Hope Crisis Center has locations in Fairbury, Beatrice, Crete, Seward and York. The non-profit has been helping families rebuild their lives free from violence since 1992 as a branch of Blue Valley Community Action.

As for the 150th birthday celebration for Fairbury, Boeckner said the Chamber board is currently working on scheduling a major weekend celebration in mid-September.

A street dance, car show and other festivities are being discussed. She says it’ll be an homage to the Fairbury Germanfest, which took place every September until 2012.

“We’ve got a great weekend planned,” Boeckner said. “Hopefully, we have a lot of great participation in that.”

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