The theme for the Melissa Area Chamber’s annual banquet this year was “bridging business and community.” The event was a celebration and networking opportunity for residents and local business people. In addition to the steak or roasted chicken dinner, there was a cash bar, silent auction, and fun games all hosted at Hurricane Creek Country Club in Anna.

“We come out to put the community and business together,” Mayor Reed Greer said. “The city of Melissa is a growing place. From the school board members to the city council to the new businesses that are coming to town there can’t be a better setting for coming together.”

Before dinner was served attendees interacted and placed their bids for the silent auction.

“We are new to town,” Trent Wilkins from State Farm said. “I’m a new business owner in the area. We have been in town around 10 months. I’m a State Farm agent. I’m on the board here with the chamber. So I’m just looking forward to a great night. We’re looking forward to getting to know people better. With the chamber being revitalized we’re really looking forward to seeing people get involved.”

Businesses were represented by their employees at sponsored tables. Many of them attend yearly and have seen the event grow and evolve.

“I work for Steel Fab of Texas,” Darren Cook, a banquet attendee and Chamber member, said. “We were here last year. This is our second year. We’re looking forward to the rubber band contest. That was really fun last year.”

The night was hosted by Melissa Chamber Executive Director Bill Jones.

“This is a time when we report to all of the members our growth and our activities and how we’ve made the chamber better,” Executive Director Bill Jones said. “Then we have fun. It’s mostly a celebration of a great year from 2016. I’m trying to make this a real Chamber of Commerce and we’re pretty close.”

Two awards were presented during the banquet. The first, the “Business of the Year” award was presented to CVS pharmacy of Melissa. The second was presented to George James who has lived in Melissa for 30 years. James received the “Citizen of the Year” award for his 15 years serving on the school board and his work with the youth in the area.

“It was a great night,” Jones said. “It was very enjoyable and productive.”