There was quite a crowd at Memorial Auditorium as Wellington’s finest came out to party and to honor those who shined the brightest this past year.
It was an opportunity to meet and mingle with other business leaders in the community and catch up with people one might not have seen in a while.
Live music on stage was performed by Kitty Hawk Krash, a Kansas band formerly known as 3 Way Stop. They play acoustic rock music that could be considered Americana.
Dinner was catered by the Dore Grill and Bar.
The evening’s theme was “Building For our Future” which included a lego-themed presence. This marked the first banquet for Kelly Ford, who was named executive director of the WACC in November.
After dinner, the first award presentation started with the 2017 Outstanding Young Professional of the Year. Katie Norton was announced the winner after the audience heard in glowing terms her accomplishments over the past year.
Not long after receiving her award, she spoke to us and said, “I am very grateful for the award and appreciate it very much. Wellington Young Professionals has grown so much over the last year and I have a very supportive board to thank for that. I am proud to be a member of this community and I look forward to seeing what 2018 brings for Wellington Young Professional.”
The 2017 Business of the Year award went to the Regent Theater. It was accepted by J.C. Long who thanks the Chamber of Commerce and asked the people in the audience “to go out and see a movie.”
Since its transformation and re-opening nearly a decade ago, the Regent has replaced the old style film projector with a digital one which was not inexpensive.
Jerry Fike, who manages the Regent, commented that, “We are quite honored to receive the award. It's nice to be recognized for something that you put so much of yourself into.”
The final honor of the evening, the Distinguished Service Award, went to Chris Craig after a lengthy video presentation was shown touting his accomplishments in the city.
Craig is known as the architect, engineer, and fund raiser for what is known as Ninth Street Field – the baseball facility to the north of Sellers Park. The field was originally built as a junior varsity baseball complex and high school practice facility. But since then, the field has become essential real estate for the Wellington Babe Ruth program. It has allowed the youth ball teams to play during the times the semipro Wellington Heat is using the Sellers Park facility.
The Wellington Daily News congratulates the winners from last Friday evening.