"A New York State of Mind," Yates Co. Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner Dance

John Christensen The Chronicle-Express
The Yates County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner dance Saturday, Feb. 7 in the ballroom of the Esperanza Mansion in Branchport.

The Yates County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual dinner dance Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Esperanza Mansion in Branchport. "A New York State of Mind" was the evening's theme, and approximately 200 came to enjoy socializing during the cocktail hour and bidding on the wide selection of items donated for the silent auction.

An excellent dinner followed, offering prime rib and Cordon Bleu inspired chicken in cream sauce, whipped potatoes, roasted summer squash, served with a wide selection of local wines, and individual rustic apple tarts. All agreed the chefs at Esperanza were in top form. Among the dignitaries who turned out for the event were Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Judges Craig Doran and Pat Falvey, County Administrator Sarah Purdy, and numerous county, town, and village officials.

Chamber CEO Mike Linehan was host and master of ceremonies for the evening and his enthusiasm during the event contributed greatly to the atmosphere of fellowship and laugher. He called forward Chamber President Kathy Waye to assist him in the award presentations.

The Robert Maxwell Director of the Year award was given to Kris Pearson of the Arts Center of Yates County. Kris was honored for the role she played during the floods of 2014. "Her daily reports via e-mail kept everyone with an interest in our community up to date, and her calm sense of humor let everyone know that we would be OK," said Linehan. Each year, the Robert Maxwell award is given in his memory to a member of the Chamber’s board. Maxwell is credited with organizing the first StarShine in 1984, and he served the Chamber with great style.

The Norman Snow Memorial Spirit Award was given to Steve Griffin, the CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, Yates County's Industrial (Economic) Development Agency. Griffin was credited for the high level of enthusiasm and spirit he brings to his job and the community. The Spirit award remembers Norm Snow, who served the Chamber as Tourism Director and Vice-President until his untimely death. He too exuded community spirit and served his community well.

The Emily Seager Memorial Pride Award was presented to Ginny Turner. "Ginny’s pride in her community is shown by the decision she made to return to her childhood home and establish The Steamboat Castle Bed & Breakfast," said Linehan. The award is named in honor of Emily Seager who was a Chamber staffer and ultimately held the position of Executive Director. "Emily adopted Penn Yan as her home and in all of her activities – church, chamber and family – she demonstrated a level of pride not often found," says Linehan.

Jody Tyler received a Distinguished Service Award for her decade of service to the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. Jody currently serves as the Director of Member Services, and recently became a licensed insurance agent to help bolster the Chamber’s insurance program.

After the awards, the annual balloon pop sale went quickly as diners purchased black and silver balloons; one containing a package prize of goods and services with a total value over $2,000. As the balloons were popped, Shari Brodmann of The Flour Shop Café was cheered as the winner.

DJ Todd Whitford provided music and laughs throughout the evening as guests worked off their dinners on the dance floor, as the silent auction concluded, and the party went on until midnight.