GREEN FOREST -- The Green Forest Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual banquet this Saturday evening. Topping a program of speakers and awards - in true, Ozark fashion - is a healthy ladle-full of white, sausage gravy.
Well, technically, the gravy is supposed to remain on guest's plates, along with a menu of chicken fried steak (donated by Tyson's), mashed potatoes, corn, homemade rolls, and - for the main course - cherry cobbler and vanilla ice cream.
That's dinner. The rest is, as they say, "gravy."
Or, as Ross Darby, chamber president, put it, "It is an evening filled with local speakers talking about issues that relate to our community."
"Also," he said, "it is a time for local business owners and their employees to visit with each other and talk about community issues and discuss the shared interest everyone has in keeping our community thriving and growing for many years to come."
The list of speakers scheduled to weigh in on that growth includes Green Forest Superintendent Matt Summers and Mayor Charles Reece.
Summers will deliver the keynote address this year. Darby said he hoped the speech would better acquaint community members with the superintendent, who only assumed his position this year.
Reece will then address the crowd, sharing his vision for the city's future and, likely, giving an update on the planned expansion of Highway 62.
In addition to speeches and gravy, Darby said the banquet would offer an opportunity to recognize those who had made a positive impact on the city. Toward this end, Darby will hand out several awards.
First, the chamber will recognize one individual as "Hero of the Year." In 2011, the award went to Navy Master Chief Tommy Ratzlaff. The Green Forest native was killed in Afghanistan last summer, when his Chinook helicopter was shot down by insurgents. Ratzlaff was one of 38 american and Afghani troops killed in the crash.
In addition, the chamber will recognize one citizen as "Person of the Year."
Darby said both recipients had already been chosen, though he refused to spoil the surprise.
Those who must know can quench their curiosity by attending the banquet at 6 p.m., Sept. 22 in the Green Forest School Cafeteria.
Tickets are $10 for an individual or $75 for a table of eight. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Darby at 870-438-6520.