Call goes out for top citizen

The Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce seeks nominations for its annual Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year and Nonprofit of the Year awards.

“The Citizen of the Year award, among the highest honors bestowed in our region, recognizes an individual in the Greater Derry Londonderry area who has contributed to the betterment of the community through volunteer service and civic leadership,” said Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce President Ashley Haseltine. “Similarly, Business of the Year and Nonprofit of the Year awards represent a company and organization that significantly improve the region and focus on community and economic growth.”

Any individual, company or organization located within the eight communities served by the chamber — Atkinson, Auburn, Chester, Derry, Hampstead, Londonderry, Sandown and Windham — can be nominated. Nominations can be submitted electronically through the event listing on gdlchamber.org or emailed to Ashley Haseltine at ashley@gdlchamber.org and are due by Friday, Sept.25.

The awards will be presented at the Chamber’s annual dinner to be held Thursday, Oct. 22 at Tupelo Music Hall in Derry. The theme of this year’s dinner is “A Night at the Drive-In.” Tickets are available for purchase at gdlchamber.org.

Derryfest goes virtual

The annual Derryfest celebration traditionally held in MacGregor Park every September will have a different look this year due to coronavirus challenges.

"Virtual Derryfest" is set to start Saturday, Sept. 19, on Derry's Channel 23, along with being live-streamed on social media platforms like the Derryfest and Derry Opera House Facebook pages. People will be able to watch anytime and there will be performances, scenes from past Derryfest events and spotlights on event sponsors.

Derryfest organizers also are speaking out about the lack of revenue and performances at the historic Opera House, located within the Adams Memorial Building on West Broadway. The building, supported by the Greater Derry Arts Council, was recently lit up in red to pay tribute to the thousands of venues and prominent buildings around the nation and the need for government support as events and performances abruptly stopped due to the virus.

"Just like hundreds of performance venues during this pandemic, the Derry Opera House has had to cancel all events inside the building until at least Dec. 31 due to safety concerns," said Mike Gendron, a longtime Derryfest organizer and member of the Arts Council. "And with the cancellation of Derryfest (our biggest fundraiser), we have absolutely no revenue at this moment."

People can offer support by visiting the GoFundMe page link on the Derryfest site at derryfest.org. All proceeds go to support the Derry Opera House. The Greater Derry Arts Council is using this "dark" period without any performances in the theater to make many much-needed improvements to the stage, lighting and dressing rooms.

Auction goes online

The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Derry hosts its annual auction online due to the coronavirus and all are invited to take part in this fundraiser to support the club.

The auction is the club’s largest funding source, having raised nearly $5 million since the event's inception in 1988.

Because of the impact of the pandemic the success of this year’s auction has become more important than ever and the club is asking the entire community to consider registering online and supporting the event.

The auction is open to the public and those who register will have the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets, make donations and bid on more than 150 items donated by many local individuals and businesses.

Registration is now open at derrybgclub.home.qtego.net and bidding will run from noon on Sept. 14-28.

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