Rowan Chamber’s ‘Bourbon, Bling & Bowties’ an entertaining gathering, with emotion

Published 12:04 am Sunday, January 29, 2023

SALISBURY — Every once in a while, it’s nice to break out that nice suit or dress and go out with friends and colleagues. The Rowan County Chamber’s 97th annual meeting’s theme of “Bourbon, Bling & Bowties” was the perfect excuse to dress up in a tuxedo or gown to meet people, present awards and to pass the gavel to the new leadership.

“This is our premiere event of the year,” said Elaine Spalding, president of the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. “This is where we celebrate all the wonderful things that have been going on in our community, we recognize some very special volunteers, we pass the the gavel from our chair of the board from this last year to chair of the board from this year, and really just celebrate what a wonderful community in which we live.”

The Smoke Pit catered the event, which included a bourbon pull, where each ticket was good for a chance to win bourbon that ranged from a $50 bottle to won worth $200.

Livingstone College President Dr. Anthony Davis offered the invocation and members of the chamber spoke, as did community partners.

Awards went to Mollie Ruf as the Young Professional of the Year, Rosalind Hinds as the Paul E. Fisher Volunteer of the Year, Healthcare Management Consultants as the Chamber Champion Small Business of the Year and Pete Teague for the Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award.

Outgoing Chair of the Board Brad Walser, decked out in some the flashiest “bling” of the evening, passed the gavel to the new Chair of the Board Elaine Holden for 2023. Holden has been part of the chamber since 1994 and works at the North Carolina Transportation Museum. She is looking forward to what can be accomplished in the new year.

“So many of our businesses within our community are struggling right now to get workers and so the development of that workforce I think is key for us and our partnership with EDC and their talent attraction plan I think is one of the biggest things as well as our entrepreneurial center development,” Holden said.

Toward the end of the evening, when the awards were handed out, people couldn’t help but shed a tear about all that they have given to make their county the best it can be.

“We honored Dr. King last week and that day before he was assassinated he said, ‘I’ve been to the mountaintop,’ ” Chair-elect Terry Osborne said. “And I want to want many of you to go to the mountaintop. Share all your talents.”

Outgoing chair Brad Walser passes the gavel to the new chair Elaine Holden.

Novant Health sponsored a photo booth for people to take amusing pictures.

The bourbon pull was an entertaining way for people to leave the event with a special gift.

The meeting was also a place for people to mingle and network.

Paul E. Fisher’s family was presented with an award from Sen. Ted Budd commemorating the late Rowan County resident.