136 members of the Webster City Chamber of Commerce attended the chamber's annual gala meeting at the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish Center.
The event kicked off with a social hour. Later, an invocation was read by Theo Boman then guests were treated to a catered dinner by Second Street Emporium.
After dinner, chamber board president Jeanne Hill recognized past, current and new board members that attended the gala. She and other board members presented three gifts as she read a poem to outgoing Chamber of Commerce director Carrie Fitzgerald.
Jeanne Hill, Chamber board president, along with other board members, presented several gifts to outgoing Chamber director Carrie Fitzgerald, seated.
Addressing Chamber members on her stepping down, Fitzgerald recounted some of her experiences during her time as director, including judging pigs with her daughter and becoming more fluent in public speaking. She reminded Chamber members that her leaving was not the end, but a beginning.
"Your organization has made milestone steps to being a premiere business organization for Webster City," Fitzgerald said. "I am not the chamber, you are the chamber."
Fitzgerald discussed her five years as director of the Chamber and reviewed business highlights of the past year. In addition to RAGBRAI, Webster City hosted several other events. 128 people from visited all 12 participating businesses and at least one restaurant during the Chamber sponsored "Ladies Night Out." 15 businesses participated in Wacky Wednesday, which encouraged residents to shop locally before Black Friday.
Last year, the Chamber welcomed 17 new members, including new Webster City business Body by Vi. The Chamber also hosted seven "From How to Wow" seminars, dispersed $40,000 in revolving loan funds and received visitor requests from 18 states.
Looking forward, the Chamber has set several goals for the coming year. In addition to filling Fitzgerald's now vacant director position, the Chamber aims to increase the value of Chamber membership, focus on recreating, restructuring and inventing new events and educating the community on what Webster City has to offer.
Guest speaker Deadra Stanton closed off the evening. She presented a humerous program, "Don't Shoot Skinny Rabbits." Stanton has been an english teacher for over 36 years and was selected as a finalist in 2012 for Iowa Teacher of the Year.