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Kaneland Connection: Elburn dinner raises scholarship money

People converse Saturday during the Elburn Chamber of Commerce Winter Dinner and Awards Banquet at Elburn Lions Park.
People converse Saturday during the Elburn Chamber of Commerce Winter Dinner and Awards Banquet at Elburn Lions Park.

When Karen Park went to her first Elburn Chamber of Commerce Winter Dinner, she wasn’t wearing a festive hat to celebrate the Kentucky Derby-like theme, and she said she knew she would have to be ready for the next one.

On Saturday, Park attended her third such event, and she fit right in with the colorful hats on display at the Elburn Lions Club. And Park’s award for best hat wasn’t even the best part of the evening.

Park, who works at Old Second Bank, now is the Chamber president, and she enjoyed a rewarding night. Old Second was honored as the business of the year. Park was honored for having the best hat. And the Chamber raised money for its annual scholarship fund. Last year’s event helped raise enough to provide two $1,000 scholarships for Kaneland area students.

This year’s event raised more than $3,000, said Kristen Damolaris, a co-chair of the event. That money will be available for next year’s scholarships.

“It was definitely exciting,” Park said of the night. She brought five bank employees with her. “It’s important to the bank in general, and to the employees.”

Her manager, Joe Huml, said employees at Old Second have a “community involvement” requirement, and people are enthusiastic and excited to attend local events.

“It’s more than just a financial contribution,” Huml said. “We try to make sure our team is represented.”

Walgreens also was honored as a standout member, and Dan Murphy from Edward Jones was named the member of the year.

The winter dinner offered a light, festive atmosphere. The Chronicle was represented by editor Kathy Gresey, advertising director Mike Harvel, ad representative Scott Schafer and me.

Attendees can buy tickets and enter their names into numbered buckets for nine video horse races, sponsored by Chamber members. A winner is drawn after each race, with prizes awarded. Also, each table is encouraged to bid on a dessert. To keep with the horse-racing theme, women are urged to wear fancy hats.

“It’s got to have color, and there were plenty of colored hats,” Park said. “I think everybody has fun with it. It goes everywhere from crazy to more proper.”

The next meeting of the Chamber is at noon Thursday at the Elburn & Countryside Community Center, 525 N. Main St., Elburn.

Elburn Days Theme:

The 2013 Elburn Days theme will be Lions for Literacy in a World of Service. Elburn Days will be from Aug. 16 to 18 at Lions Park.

Pam Hall, the chairwoman for the 2013 Elburn Days event, said the Lions Club has implemented a literacy program as a service project for the Lions International reading action campaign. She said the club has been working with library directors in Elburn, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sugar Grove, the Kaneland staff, the Kane County Regional Office of Education and Kane County representatives.

At Christmas, the Lions Club bought and donated 169 gender- and age-specific books for 89 boys and 80 girls between the ages of 1 to 18, Hall said. She said the books were chosen by librarians using an anonymous list of children, knowing only age and gender.

For information on the Elburn Lions Club, visit Also coming up at the Lions Club is an Easter Egg Hunt and Breakfast, from 8 to 11 a.m. March 23 at the club, 500 S. Filmore St., Elburn. The hunt starts at 10 a.m. and is for those ages 10 and younger. As part of the literacy theme, the Lions Club will offer reading to children at the event.

• Al Lagattolla is the news editor of the Kane County Chronicle. Write to him at

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