Billy “Thunder” Mason of Tim McGraw’s house band rocks the Park Vista at November 30 event

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Billy "Thunder" Mason

GATLINBURG, Tenn. December 1, 2009: Special guest entertainment wowed the crowd at the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Banquet and Meeting Monday evening at the Park Vista Hotel & Convention Center in Gatlinburg. Billy “Thunder” Mason, longtime drummer for Country sensation, Tim McGraw, rocked the crowd with his talents in the opening number and later addressed attendees at the formal event regarding what he has found to be so special about Gatlinburg and why he enjoys spending time in such a wonderful mountain village.

“I am honored to be a part of this special night,” said Mason. “I’ve traveled the world and seen a lot of places. But when the tour is over, Gatlinburg is still the place I want to be to just relax and enjoy this beautiful city.”

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Chamber Banquet

“Green is the Word” was the banquet theme, as the 350 guests spent the evening socializing and enjoying some of the year’s best memories with fellow Chamber members. Guests were treated to table gifts from both Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Sevier County Bank. Other event sponsors were Martin Printing, BDS/Infofast, Tennessee State Bank, Citizens National Bank and Mountain National Bank.

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Superintendent Dale Ditmanson was presented with a certificate in honor of the Chamber meeting its goal of achieving 75% participation by its membership in “Gatlinburg Goes Green” during the Park’s Anniversary year. “The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to have met this goal and is dedicated to continuing the education of its membership in environmentally and economically sound practices within their businesses in order to continue the preservation of the special jewel we have in our back yard, Great Smoky Mountains National.” stated Chamber Executive Director, Vicki Simms.

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Steve Waikel

The businesses who most recently joined the program to help the Chamber reach this goal were Martin Printing Company, Comfort Inn on the River, Sevier County Bank, Mountain Rentals and Realty, Smoky Mountain Trout House, Christ in the Smokies, Family Inns of America, Hand Leather, Smoky Mountain Winery and Treasures in Earthen Vessels.

Several awards were disseminated throughout the evening. Mrs. Esther “Peggy” Dych of Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen was recognized for her dedication to the promotion of Gatlinburg and was awarded the coveted Zeno Wall, Jr. Tourism Award while Mr. Steve Waikel received the William C. Stevens Volunteer Spirit Award for his tireless volunteer work for the community. Mr. Michael Simonis of the Edgewater Hotel was named 2009 Ambassador of the Year and Board President Jerry Morton and outgoing Board Members David Dixon, Paula King, Tim King and Cam Caton were honored for their service as Directors for the Chamber. The evening drew to a close as the results of the 2010 Board of Directors election were revealed and serving on the Chamber Board for a three-year term will be Vickie Blake, Daniel Jennette, Jackie Leatherwood, and Kris Reagan.

(left to right) Maggie Edwards, Esther "Peggy" Dych and Patty Edwards
(left to right) Maggie Edwards, Esther "Peggy" Dych and Patty Edwards

For more information on this and other Chamber events, call Erin Moran at 865.436.4178.

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