The Forsyth Area Chamber of Commerce is celebrating an important anniversary milestone this weekend as it hosts its 50th Annual Membership Gala. 

The gala is being held on Saturday, Jan. 11 at The Atrium in Merriam Woods. The evening of events will include a catered meal, live music from Credence Coolwater Revue a Tribute, the announcement of community awards, a silent auction and a cash bar.

Forsyth Chamber President Charyl Soyland said she believes its extremely impressive that the chamber has been around to serve the community now for 50 years.

“We’re such a small town. We’re only 2,500 people in this town, and they’ve had a chamber going since 1970. When you look at the amount of businesses and in order to keep a chamber going, somehow or another these people just kept going and going and going,” said Soyland. “We used to be the Forsyth Chamber. They did change is to be the Forsyth Area, so in recent years, they’re expanding and bringing more people and more businesses in. We are the county seat. So pretty much if you do business in Taney County you’re coming our way.”

During the gala, Soyland said, they’ll use that time to announce some of the big goals they have planned in the coming year, but she did a sneak peek at some of the things guests will get to hear about.

“We will be announcing those goals at the gala, so you kind of have to come to the gala to hear those goals. I don’t want to give anything away too soon,” Soyland said. “We’ve increased the board. We’ll be doing more activities, and we will be giving education this year. We’ll have nighttime meetings. We’ll have early morning meetings. We’ll have luncheon meetings.”

Nicknamed the ‘Denim and Diamonds Gala,’ Soyland said they don’t care how dressed up someone is or not, they just care that you come to have a good time.

“So if you are a denim kind of person, and you want to get dressed up, but it’s still in denim, we’re very happy and excited to see you. We also have guests that want to come out dressed in long gowns and hairs up and they’ve got their diamonds on,” said Soyland. “I always say it’s kind of a Mayberry feeling when you come to Forsyth. Everybody knows everybody and everybody always has a good time.”

At this year’s gala, Soyland explained that they’ve decided to expand from two community awards to four.

“We’re excited to announce our Volunteer of the Year Award. This person that was nominated, and everyone agreed, has volunteered or served the community in some way probably their entire life and still does it today,” Soyland said. “We have a Rising Star Award, which is a brand new business. This new business just rocked it, was incredible, has some incredible open houses throughout the year and has really changed what people think they can do here in Forsyth. 

“We have a Person of the Year (Award) and this gentleman has done so many things, not just that the public can see, but privately. The people of Forsyth know what they do, but don’t publicize it. So that’s kind of the person of the year. Who’s made the biggest impact on the community. Then we also have a Business of the Year (Award). This business has taken the opportunity and they’ve put in some things this year that will have a long lasting effect, especially on our tourism.”

While the ticket deadline for the event has passed, Soyland said that anyone still interested in attending the event is encouraged to still reach out about tickets. She added that limited tickets are left, as many of the 140 total tickets available for the event have already been claimed. Tickets are $25 per person.

The gala begins at 6 p.m. at The Atrium, which is at 10500 U.S. Highway 160 in Merriam Woods. For tickets and additional information call 417-546-2741.

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