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Masquerade party celebrates businesses

Those attending the annual Chamber awards banquet are encouraged to have fun with the 2013 theme of a masquerade ball.

The River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism dusts off the red carpet in preparation for its annual awards banquet, the Chamber Oscars, or Choscars, beginning 5 p.m. Feb. 7 in the University Center at UW-River Falls.

Chamber Event Coordinator Maranda Mahr said a Hollywood theme has dominated the past few years, with people dressing up as their favorite celebrity or "putting on the glam" for an evening. The planning committee decided to try something different for 2013 -- a masquerade theme.

Mahr said, "This year we're working with Second Star," a downtown River Falls consignment shop.

The store's owner/operator Greta Werner has a background in the Renaissance fair business, including special items like pointy princess hats and magic wands.

Mahr said the store features a special Choscars display. Masks will also be available to buy on banquet night at the event.

The person with the best or most creative mask wins a $50 chamber check.

Mahr said masks aren't required but are encouraged, as is formal dress. The chamber continues to make the banquet a special and dressy event.

Tickets cost $50 for the first person and $40 for each additional person, and table sponsors are welcome.

People can buy tickets from the chamber, either online or in person at the 214 N. Main St. office. The deadline for reservations is Friday, Jan. 25.

Asked if seating was limited, Mahr said, "Anybody who is wanting to come should be able to attend the event."

Guests get a choice for dinner of a red pepper and asparagus frittata, chicken stuffed with Asiago cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, or roast beef with au jus gravy.

Mahr said during the evening, the chamber will present several "of the year" awards to business, small business and non-profit organization, as well as honors for chamber volunteers and ambassadors and the year's honored citizen.

Another new feature of this year's banquet will be a "showcase select" of eight-to-10 River Falls businesses promoting the company with an exhibit booth. Each participating business offers a raffle prize worth at least $75.

She said the event will also have a photo booth where ball goers can have their picture taken. Mahr said parking will be free, and guests can get a parking map from the chamber before the event.

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