By ED SALVAS
The Carousel Awards are the Main Event for the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce each year, and this year’s gala will have more than a few new features.
First, the May 11 event will move from its longtime home at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel across Ocean Avenue to the stage at the Asbury Park Convention Hall. Chamber President Jennifer Schulman, president of Fortune Web Marketing, said having the gala actually on the stage will originate the Chamber’s commitment to the future. In fact, the theme of this year’s Gala is “Asbury Forever.”
The larger space will also allow the Chamber to include more people. Executive Director Sylvia Sylvia-Cioffi said the ballroom at the Berkeley had a capacity of 300 but Convention Hall is larger. They will also be taking advantage of the upstairs space at the hall for a “Boardwalk Experience” featuring old school games of chance seen on the boardwalk in years past, offering several prizes, including rings from the original carousel. Proceeds from the games will benefit the Asbury Park Historical Society and the Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation.
A video slide show of Asbury Park will play during the evening paying homage to Asbury Park’s past. In another departure, the Carousel Award winners will be profiled on video and their acceptance speeches will be shown on video as well.
Sylvia-Cioffi added that the changes are designed in part to signal a new effort by the chamber to become a larger player in Asbury Park by speaking with a louder voice on issues that matter to the community and to move away from being a “traditional” Chamber of Commerce..
“We want to to be part of the tapestry and not just a networking organization,” she said.
As an example, she said the chamber will join the opposition to offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. Governor Murphy signed legislation to block drilling last week. One significant change this year is the creation of a new Visionary Carousel Award, which is being given to Jennifer Lampert, managing owner of the Festhalle and Biergarten. The new award replaces the award for Economic Development.
The Carousel Award Gala is still a Black tie Optional event, and for the first time there will be a Carousel Award After Party at Kim Marie’s Eat and Drink Away from 10 to midnight. The after party sponsored by Fortune Web Marketing will include music by Chris Brown. Music for the dinner will be by So Watt, video by NJMedia Works and Falco’s Catering is again catering the affair.
In addition to Lampert, Carousel Award recipients are: The Asbury Hotel, Kenneth T. Roth Landmark Business; Garrett Giberson, The Joan Flatley Spirit of Asbury Park; Genise Hughes, the Humanitarian award, and Freeholder Thomas Arnone the Public Official Award. Two special awards will also be presented. Mayor John Moor will be presented a Lifetime Achievement and City Council Member Eileen Chapman will receive the President’s Award.
For sponsorship information and to purchase tickets contact the Chamber at 732-775-7676 or at info@AsburyParkchamber.com