ELBURN – About three dozen cheerful, enthusiastic members and friends of the Elburn Chamber of Commerce shook off the cold March 10 and caught the horse-racing spirit during A Night at the Races – the chamber's annual recognition dinner, fundraiser and awards banquet. It was held at the Hughes Creek Golf Club in Elburn.
“It was a nice evening for members to come together to support the chamber and to honor those who do so much for the community,” said Tracy Leach, the chamber’s administrator. “We appreciate our members and all they do.”
Dr. Ken Baumruck served as the event chairman and master of ceremonies. Baumruck is an Elburn chiropractor and acupuncturist.
“We appreciate the [volunteer] work everyone does for the chamber,” he said, smiling broadly at the crowd.
Attendees wagered with purchased tickets to participate in up to six video horse races for prizes. Those at each table selected and bid on a dessert of their choice. Prizes were also awarded for Best Horse Name and Best Derby Hat (for men and women).
Many individuals and businesses were honored for sponsoring events at the recognition dinner and donating auction desserts.
All money made during A Night at the Races goes toward financing the event. “We were not looking to raise more money than the event's total cost,” Leach said.
A Night at the Races used to be called The Winter Dinner. The chamber used money raised for the annual Elburn Chamber Scholarship Fund that benefits two Kaneland-area students each year.
“We now raise that [scholarship] money through raffle-ticket sales at the Christmas Stroll, which takes place on Thanksgiving Saturday every year,” Leach explained.
During the awards presentation, the chamber recognized one member and one business making a significant, positive difference for the organization during 2016.
Dr. David Foss, founder of Elburn-based Vital Wellness Center, was honored as Member of the Year for his participation in several chamber events. He chaired Elburn's 2016 Christmas Stroll and served as a 2015-16 chamber board member.
American Bank & Trust in Elburn was named Business of the Year for playing an active role in the chamber, community and several chamber events.
Few revelers left early during A Night at the Races, a testament to the strong camaraderie and fellowship shared throughout the evening.
“I've learned so much more about our town and the businesses,” Foss told the Elburn Herald as the celebration wound down. “Some people may ask, 'What am I going to get out of [being a chamber member']? It's more about what you put into it – and then you start realizing what you are going to get out of it. It has been an amazing, great experience working for and serving the Elburn Chamber of Commerce.”