DUBLIN - It was a party atmosphere at this year’s Dublin Chamber of Commerce banquet held Monday night at the Dublin High School.

Notably absent were the long, drawn out speeches that often have spectators squirming in their seats and glancing at their watches. This year, the banquet was short, sweet and festive. And that’s just the way the board of directors planned it.

“We wanted to make the banquet fun this year and get away from the rules and restrictions,” Chamber Executive Director Jeanette Ward, said. “We wanted to have a party.”

And party they did.

A buffet of chicken fried steak, gravy, mashed potatoes and green beans topped off with peach cobbler was served for dinner. Attendees had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items donated by local businesses, while the Dublin High School Jazz Band delighted the crowd with upbeat music that had many in the audience clapping their hands and singing along. Afterwards, Pam Neblitt entertained the crowd with a guitar and solo rendition of “Summer time.”

Several door prizes were also given away throughout the evening in a drawing. City Administrator David Carrothers acted as master of ceremonies.

But not all things, of course, were different. The chamber honored those whose volunteerism and dedication to the community have made a difference in Dublin.

Volunteer of the Year was awarded to Wilma Davis, described as a behind-the-scenes volunteer who works with Goodfellows. Business of the Year was awarded to Chigger Ranch, owned by Don and Terri Carsten. Citizen of the Year was awarded to James “Ike” Wade, owner of Ike Wade’s Bookkeeping and Tax Service. Ward said Wade was recognized for his service and involvement in several local organizations.

“He’s just an all around nice person,” Ward said.

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce has been going strong for 79 years.