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Carpinteria’s 54th Annual Community Awards Banquet Includes a Centennial Celebration

Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce marks 100th year, honors E.J. Harrison & Sons and Chocolats du CaliBressan

It was “Everything Carpinteria” at the 54th Annual Community Awards Banquet and the Carpinteria Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 100th Anniversary Celebration held Jan. 28 at the Carpinteria Boys & Girls Club.

From the lima beans served on Rincon Events & Zoo Catering’s buffet menu (Carpinteria was formerly the lima bean capital of the world) to the hometown-grown floral décor, this event was “all about Carpinteria.” More than 300 guests — many dressed in black tie or long fancy gowns — enjoyed the social hour in the “transformed” learning center and child care room of the Boys & Girls Club before entering the gymnasium-turned-ballroom for the evening’s dinner and the program.

Carpinteria Lions Club members volunteered as bartenders, serving up Carpinteria’s own Island Brewing Company beer and a specially produced “Centennial Merlot.” The Centennial wines sported a celebratory label designed by local artist Ray Cole.

The city’s proud history was displayed everywhere — copies of historic black and white photos compiled by the Carpinteria Historical Society’s David Griggs and Lin Graf. A continuous Powerpoint presentation, produced by Dr. Bob Berkenmeier, beamed portraits of beloved Carpinterians present and past.

Event co-chairwomen Karen Welty Graf and Mary Crowley asked the audience for a minute of silence to honor the memory of Thomas L. Lewis, Carpinterian of the Year 1990, who passed away in 2011.

The Carpinteria Valley chamber business portion of the event included the passing of the torch to incoming chamber chairman Tom Ligare, who looked dapper in black tie. Ligare succeeds Kara Camp.

Chamber president and CEO Lynda Lang presented the annual meeting message.

Major sponsors included Venoco Inc., Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP, Carpinteria Masonic Lodge #444, E.J. Harrison & Sons, Hickey Bros. Land Co., Montecito Bank & Trust, Rabobank, Rincon Events & Zoo Catering, city of Carpinteria, Holiday Inn Express, Hollandia Produce, MarBorg Industries, Rincon Energy and many others.

The 2011 awards included E.J. Harrison & Sons as Large Business of the Year and Chocolats du CaliBressan as Small Business of the Year.

The Harrison family was out in full force: Myron, David, Jim, George, John, Lisa, Sharon, Sandi and Danielle. Harrison Industries was established in 1932 and is one of the oldest and largest privately owned trash collection businesses in the United States. It boasts 90,000 customers, including Carpinteria. As a result of its successful waste diversion strategies, Carpinteria has one of the highest waste diversions rates in California, at 71 percent.

Chocolats owners Jill-Marie and Jean-Michele Carre shared the story of starting their very small chocolate business in the welcoming community of Carpinteria after relocating from the culinary field in France. They have recently expanded with the addition of a second retail store in Santa Barbara.

A well-deserved and long-overdue award went to a humble but exuberant Wade and Roxanne Nomura, who were recognized as Carpinterians of the Year. The Nomura name has been seen on charity sponsor rosters for decades in Carpinteria. Rotary is one of their top interests.

Click here for more photos on Noozhawk’s Pinterest page.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook and Noozhawk on Pinterest.

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