Chamber’s ‘crown jewel event,’ State of the Community Dinner served May 11

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Honoring dedication and service will take center stage May 11 when Auburn gathers for the State of the Community Dinner.
“It’s one of the (Auburn Chamber of Commerce’s) crown jewel events,” co-chairwoman Carolyn Metzker said Monday.
This year’s dinner will go back to The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center after being held at the Gold Country Fairgrounds for several years. It also will have a different format.
“We’re going to take on more of an interview style rather than giving out awards one after another,” co-chairman Steve Galyardt said. “The emcee is Jennifer Richardson. She will lead us through an evening of learning who those heroes are. It will add a more modern feel, speed it up and absolutely highlight those people.”
Galyardt, Metzker and Elizabeth Sands are leading a chamber committee of about 10, plus many more volunteers, working to make the dinner a really special evening.
In addition to the more conversational format, the committee is also taking advantage of technology.
“We’re bringing in social media by developing videos that will highlight the award recipients and (the groups that) make those nominations,” Sands said.
WAVE Broadband, one of the dinner’s sponsors, is helping with production of the videos that will be shown as the awardees are introduced.
Deadline for nominations in eight categories — City of Auburn, Placer County, business of the year, supporter of education, cultural award, steward of health care, friend of agriculture and friend of recreation — were due April 1.
The McCann Award winner, the most prestigious of the honors, will be decided later this month.
The committee encouraged the organizations that make the choices to “think broadly,” Sands said.
“It does not have to be one specific person. It may be a business or a group or a committee,” she said. “We wanted it to be all-encompassing. They are the stewards of Auburn and very committed to our community.”
Funding for the dinner comes from sponsorships and ticket sales.
“We’ve had a good response for sponsorships and want more,” Metzker said. “It is what helps us be successful.”
Sponsorship levels range from $2,500 to $250 and include entertainment and cocktail hour sponsorships, which are $1,000. Sponsors receive special recognition in promotional advertising, printed invitation and dinner program and a sponsor table sign, according to a chamber flier.
The ticket price has gone up from $37.50 per person last year to $45 if purchased prior to April 30 and $50 after that.
“The prices are higher so we could actually accommodate the cost structure at The Ridge,” Galyardt said. “We haven’t raised prices in at least a decade. … We sell out every year and we intend have another sellout this year.”
Moving it back to The Ridge dresses it up.
“Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital Foundation’s Faith & Fantasy Ball is held there and we wanted to have that elegant feel,” Galyardt said.
Sands, daughter-in-law of previous chairwoman Kathy Sands, has worked on the event for many years.
“I absolutely love the State of the Community Dinner because it brings everyone together,” she said. “It brings together all the different dynamics that make Auburn so special. You have the business tycoon, the longtime senior volunteer and the farmer all rubbing elbows. It’s just a blend of all that is Auburn.”
Metzker has also been involved in putting the evening together for several years. This is her first year as a co-chair.
“It’s such a phenomenal opportunity to recognize the volunteerism in our community and I couldn’t pass up being able to chair it and start it on a new path,” she said.
Galyardt, who also heads the Festival of Lights Parade, appreciates taking on a new challenge and working with a good group of people.
“It gives me a chance to say thank-you,” he said. “It’s my community, too and these heroes affect me, too.”
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State of the Community Dinner
Friday, May 11 — cocktail hour at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.
Where: The Ridge Golf Course and Event Center, Auburn
Tickets: $45 per person through April 30, then $50 per person
For tickets and sponsorship information: (530) 885-5616