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— It’s almost fall, but Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce employees are inviting residents to the tropics for the chamber’s annual awards banquet.

Gilligan’s Island is the theme of the banquet, scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 11 in the American Heritage Dining Hall at Harding University. Nominations are being accepted for awards to be presented that night.

Tara Cathey, chamber vice president, said this is the first time in the banquet’s 78-year history that it has been in October.

“It’s typically held the week of Thanksgiving, so we’ve moved it to October this year. We wanted to get it where it’s a little warmer, not so cold, since we’re going to do a Gilligan’s Island theme,” she said. “It’s casual this year, which is a first; it’s usually business attire.”

Everyone is encouraged to wear Hawaiian shirts or other island attire.

An island-inspired buffet will be available, too.

“It’ll be something different you’re normally not going to get around here,” Cathey said.

Nominations are being accepted until Sept. 26 for Nonprofit Organization of the Year, Business of the Year, Emerging Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

“They do need to be a chamber member,” Cathey said.

Tickets are $50 each. Reserved tables for eight are $445; reserved tables for 10 are $525.

A platinum sponsorship costs $1,500; a gold sponsorship is $1,000.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

“It’s just a celebration of things happening in Searcy that are great and celebrating our volunteers and all their hard work,” she said. “We’re going to be laid-back and casual this year and just have a fun evening.”

And never fear, at the end of the night, the crew and guests will get off the island.

For more information, contact scc@searcychamber.com, or call (501) 268-2458.

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