Tuesday, August 3, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Executive Director of Communications & Development
Office: (423) 392-8815
Mobile: (423) 967-8839
Kingsport Chamber Annual Dinner
postponed to February 2022
Event rescheduled due to concerns around the large percentage of unvaccinated people and rising COVID cases in the region
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – The Kingsport Chamber announced today it is postponing its 74th Annual Dinner to February of next year.
The difficult decision was made due to the rising number of COVID cases in the region, the increasing number of hospitalizations from COVID, the rampant spread of the Delta variant and, most certainly, the high percentage of unvaccinated people in the area.
“After much discussion and deliberation with our staff, Board chairs, volunteer leadership, and key stakeholders, we believe it is in the best interests of all to postpone this year’s Kingsport Chamber Annual Dinner,” said Bob Feagins, executive director of communications and development. “We are moving forward with plans to host the event in February 2022. We greatly appreciate the support and understanding of all our sponsors and attendees, and we hopefully look forward to getting together next February.”
Originally planned for February of this year, the event had been re-scheduled for Friday, August 20 due to the pandemic.
“Kingsport’s Social Event of the Year” will now take place Friday, February 4, 2022, at 6 p.m. at the MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center.
“This decision was not an easy one but it most certainly is the right thing to do,” said Miles Burdine, Kingsport Chamber president and CEO. “The health, safety and well-being of our attendees, sponsors, supporters, staff, MeadowView team and all involved with this important event will always be our top priority. And with the large number of unvaccinated people in our area, we must postpone this event so we can protect them. I strongly encourage and ask for everyone to please, please get the COVID vaccine. It will protect you, others and it will allow us to be able to host events like this without the fear of spreading the virus.”
“Our region is facing an unfortunate rise in cases of COVID-19 caused by the highly contagious Delta variant and the high percentage of those who have chosen not to get vaccinated,” commented Brian Miller, Kingsport Chamber chair and Utilities Division director with Eastman. “We all hoped that this virus was going to be behind us by now, but until we can reach much higher levels of vaccination within our community, we’ll continue to make the decisions necessary to protect the health and safety of our family, friends and neighbors. I urge everyone to understand the science and safety of these vaccines and get vaccinated as soon as possible to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”
“With COVID-19 cases increasing over 450 percent in the past month within the Appalachian Highlands, hospitalizations exceeding 100 inpatients, and concern for continued local spread of the Delta variant of the virus, we appreciate the Kingsport Chamber’s decision to postpone the Annual Dinner,” said Eric Deaton, Kingsport Chamber immediate past chair and chief operating officer at Ballad Health.
“We are grateful for the Chamber’s steadfast support of our team members by taking action to help protect them – last year with the Mask Up campaign, and now with the postponement of their largest fundraiser to help prevent increased spread of the virus. The leadership team at the Chamber truly cares about the community they serve, and we appreciate their efforts to encourage everyone who is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”
The Kingsport Chamber is offering the opportunity for those companies who were sponsoring this year’s event to simply transfer their sponsorships to the next year. The same opportunity applies for anyone who has already purchased tickets to this point.
In addition to signing on as sponsors for next year, some companies have already stepped up and offered to help the Kingsport Chamber by still supporting the organization financially this year.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year and makes a tremendous impact on our budget,” Feagins commented. “So we greatly appreciate those companies and sponsors who are continuing to support us this year to help offset some costs and lost revenue. And we are grateful to all who sponsor next year as well.”
“This is a most-challenging and changing time, and we have to be able to adapt to present circumstances and do what our medical experts and the data advise,” said Paula Jackson, Kingsport Chamber Annual Dinner chair and WJHL News Channel 11/ABC Tri-Cities vice president and general manager. “We are proud partners of this event and the Kingsport Chamber, and we fully support this very hard but necessary decision. We look forward to what promises to be an incredibly awesome event next year.”
“We know there will be a lot of disappointment and we understand people were looking forward to getting together to celebrate this great night, but we must do what is in the best interests of all parties, especially those who have not been vaccinated and are much more at risk of catching this horrific and deadly virus,” Burdine added. “Again, please protect yourself, your loved ones, neighbors and all of us by getting the vaccine.”
The Kingsport Chamber is composed of two non-profit organizations: the Kingsport Chamber Foundation (501(c)(3)) and Kingsport Chamber of Commerce (501(c)(6)).
The Kingsport Chamber Foundation manages, promotes, supports and assists a number of charitable, educational, environmental, leadership, quality of life and wellness programs that have a tremendous impact on the Kingsport community.
Programs of the Kingsport Chamber Foundation include: Communications & Development; Downtown Concert Series; Downtown Kingsport Association; Education & Workforce Development; Fun Fest; Healthy Kingsport; Keep Kingsport Beautiful; Kingsport Leadership Programs (Leadership Kingsport, PEAK Young Professionals, S.C.R.E.A.M.! and S.H.O.U.T.!® Youth Leadership); Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE); Move to Kingsport; Santa Train; Tennessee/Virginia Scholars; and Visit Kingsport.
The Kingsport Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to utilize resources and focus efforts on enhancing a strong and viable business environment for the Kingsport area.
Programs of the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce include: Communications & Development; Government Relations; and Membership. The Kingsport Chamber of Commerce has nearly 1,000 members.
For more information on the Kingsport Chamber, go to KingsportChamber.org or call (423) 392-8800. We’re social too; follow us on our Facebook page, Your Kingsport Chamber, our Twitter account, @kptchamber, on Instagram or our YouTube channel.