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A ‘Night out with Oscar’

PRINCETON – It was a “Night out with Oscar” at the Princeton Chamber of Commerce annual meeting on Thursday at Ye Olde Underground Inn in Princeton.

The evening recognized outstanding achievements within the Chamber and its members and revealed this year’s Homestead festival theme and the 42nd Homestead Festival grand marshal.

Chamber Director Kim Frey kicked-off the evening acknowledging the past year’s growth within the chamber. The Chamber started new relationships with 42 new and existing businesses and celebrated 12 ribbon cuttings.

“Our membership has grown to 311… That number continues to increase,” Frey said. “I think that’s a pretty astonishing number for such a small community, but it really is a testament to the type of members that we have.”

This year, the Chamber brought back the Organization/Service Club of the Year and Chamber Member of the Year awards.

The 2012-13 Organization/Service Club Award was presented to the Princeton Jaycees.

The Jaycees have been recognized at the state level for eight specific projects; they were named the top chapter in the state of Illinois in 2012; and their past chapter president was recognized as one of the Top 10 presidents in the nation. The Jaycees run numerous community projects, including the Fourth of July fireworks, annual sandbox fill, Halloween glow light give away and Princeton Homestead Beer Gardens.

The 2012-13 Chamber Member of the Year Award was presented to Frankie Wolsfeld.

Wolsfeld has donated countless hours to multiple social service agencies in Princeton and Bureau County. He is an active member in the Chamber of Commerce, Princeton Elks Lodge and Princeton Rotary. In 2012, he founded the successful Rumble for the Kids fundraiser, which benefits PHS Plays.

The 2012-13 Chamber Ambassador of the Year Award was presented to two ambassadors, Lori Frick and Kay Townsend.

Homestead Committee members Mike and Debbie Vrana announced this year’s homestead theme, “It’s Good to be Home.”

Penny Best was announced as this year’s Homestead Festival grand marshal.

Best moved to Princeton in 1979 and began volunteering in numerous organizations throughout Bureau County. She’s served on the Bureau County United Way Board, Princeton Tourism Board, the Civil War Re-enactment Committee, Princeton Park District Board and Homestead Festival Steering Committee.

She was the first female Exalted Ruler of the Princeton Elks Lodge. She was instrumental in working with the Princeton Rotary Club to start-up Our Table, where she feeds more than 100 people every week.

In previous years, Best has received the Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award and the Chamber Ambassadors’ Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Best said one of her favorite activities is serving as queen of the local chapter of Red Hats Society. In her free time, she loves to bake, garden, read and spend time with her family.

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