BATESVILLE — Guests attending the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and gala Friday, Jan. 25, at the Batesville Aquatics Park and Community Center will dance it back to the disco era during the “Friday Night Fever” and 1970s-themed event.

For table or ticket reservations, contact the Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce at (870) 793-2378 or

Doors open at 6 p.m. at 1420 20th St.

More than 350 people are expected to attend and celebrate community work toward IMPACT goals in 2018.

“First Community Bank, the event’s presenting sponsor, and partners, Edward Jones, Peco Foods, UACCB, and White River Health System afford us the amazing opportunity to come together at the start of the new year and celebrate accomplishments toward continuous community improvement. This is important because it not only builds momentum and re-energizes residents for what is to come in 2019, but because IMPACT has been a transparent broad-based community effort from day one and we always want to keep it that way,” said Jamie Rayford, BACC’s chief operating officer.

Among the items on the agenda for the evening is a special reception for VIPs, an IMPACT Independence County 2018 Year in Review, an awards ceremony honoring outstanding area businesses and individuals, and Leadership Batesville’s Class of 2018 matriculation.  

“This year’s contest for awards is especially stacked with worthy nominees. I do not envy the awards selection committee’s job in choosing the winners. With 17 nominations for the Leader in Education award alone, it’s clear that our residents are engaged in making our community a better place to live, work, and learn, and we love that we get the opportunity to highlight so many great businesses and individuals county-wide,” Rayford said.

Award nominees for Leader in Healthcare are Mr. Gary Bebow, former CEO of White River Health System, Vita Link EMS, and Wood-Lawn, Inc.

Finalists for the Leader in Education award are the Batesville School District Board of Education; Annette Castleberry, career services specialist at Lyon College; Byron Difani, Eagle Mountain Elementary principal; Leigh Keller, Batesville High School counselor; University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville’s Nursing and Allied Health Division; and Heath Wilson, Cedar Ridge Elementary custodian.

Competing for the Excellence in Customer Focus award are The Melba Group and Simply Southern Imprinting.

Nominees for the Community Collaboration award are the Batesville Area Arts Council, Goodwill Industries, and the Independence County Library.

Citizens Bank, FutureFuel Chemical Company, and Intimidator Group will all vie for the Excellence in Business Award.

Award nominees and finalists will be highlighted at the event and winners, including the Batesville Area Chamber Ambassador of the Year, will be announced live.