The committee for the Sleepy Eye Chamber’s annual meeting dreamed up a western theme and invited Chamber members to attend the Feb. 1 meeting for a “Boot Skootin’ Good Time.”

The committee for the Sleepy Eye Chamber’s annual meeting dreamed up a western theme and invited Chamber members to attend the Feb. 1 meeting for a “Boot Skootin’ Good Time.” The dinner and meeting was a success, with 140 chamber members and guests, many in western attire, gathered at the Event Center Saturday night.

Social hour was followed by a pork chop dinner, prepared by St. Mary’s Catering Ladies. Miss Sleepy Eye 2019 Callie Bohnen spoke after dinner, telling of the fun events she enjoyed, with attendants Anna Sellner and Liv Nelson, as they promoted Sleepy Eye this past year. Bohnen mentioned the Miss Sleepy Eye 2020 coronation coming up in a month and that she is looking forward to representing Sleepy Eye at the Minneapolis Aquatennial this summer.

Two awards were presented during the meeting. The Friend of Sleepy Eye award recognizes someone who is a friend to Sleepy Eye by giving assistance, endorsing Sleepy Eye, and being a supporter of Sleepy Eye. The award went to Russ and Ann McCabe in recognition of their long support of the community, both personally and through their business.

The McCabe’s were emotional in accepting the award. They assured everyone that Sleepy Eye is there home and they will continue to be active in the community.

The Shining Star award recognizes someone who contributes to the Chamber of Commerce by being a positive role model, generates inspiration to others and demonstrates how civic engagement can contribute to a healthy environment and a successful society. This year the award went to the Sleepy Eye Servicemen’s Club. The club’s involvement in community events, such as the Corn Days streetdance and all veterans events, plus their monetary support of many local causes, was cited in the presentation of the award.

Greg Roiger, manager of the Servicemen’s Club’s charitable gambling, accepted the award. Later he told this reporter that through their charitable gambling fun, the Servicemen’s Club has donated $25,000 to local causes over the past six months.

Chamber Executive Director Christina Andres spoke of several developments by Chamber members, such as new downtown businesses Sleepy Eye Coffee Company, Sleepy Eye Brewing Company, Sleepy Eye Uptown, and Powerhouse Nutrition, plus new downtown locations for Century 21-Red Shoe Realty and Schmid Financial Services.

Andres also acknowledged the impending loss of the Del Monte plant, saying she would be naive to think it will not the leave a void within the community. “[Del Monte’s] operation stretched wide throughout our community and region,” Andres said. “We are forever grateful for the opportunities that their 90 year presence afforded our residents, businesses, area farmers, and of course, our Buttered Corn Days celebration.”

The evening included a silent and live auction to raise funds for the Chamber of Commerce. The evening ended with complimentary casino play — each person got $200 in Chamber play money for Craps, Roulette and Black Jack games.