BELFAST — It’s the election before the election.

The Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce has set Friday, Nov. 4, as the night it will honor its membership with a celebration at the Hutchinson Center. The Chamber Annual Awards will feature a cocktail-style party that begins at 5:30 p.m. and will conclude with a series of awards that culminate in the announcement of the Citizen of the Year. Former Belfast police sergeant and organizer of Keeping Belfast Beautiful and the Holy Mackerel fishing tournament,  John Gibbs received the honors in 2021.

Nominees this year include Bob MacGregor of Waldo Woodshed, community volunteer Debbie Murphy, Belfast City Manager Erin Herbig, Jane Snowdeal of The Kindness Program, retired physician John Gage, Belfast City Councilor Mary Mortier, Public Health nurse Susan Dupler and Wayne Hamilton of Hamilton Marine. Balloting for all awards concluded on Oct. 17.

“We have had a great response from our membership,” said Belfast Chamber Director Dorothy Havey. “More than 1,200 votes have been cast.”

This year’s winners will receive a different style award.

Mainely Gallery co-owner and glass artist Brian Frus will be creating the awards for each category.

“It’s more representative,” Havey said. “Instead of your standard off-the-shelf award, Brian is making something different and unique for each category.”

Six separate awards will precede the Citizen of the Year announcement.

The Business Growth Award goes to the chamber member that has successfully expanded, renovated, or created an innovative new line or increased employees in the past year.

The Hometown Heritage Award will go to the member business that has been around for more years than we care to remember, is a bedrock in the community, and shares its experience, knowledge and wisdom with other businesses.

New this year is the Health Care Partner Award. This award recognizes and individual or organization outside the health care profession who, through their actions, demonstrates a commitment to our shared vision of making our community the healthiest in America.

The New Business Award will go to the member that has been around for three years or less, and holds the promise of being here for many more to come through its creativity, innovation, and ability to fit a community need.

The Waldo County Business Award recognizes the chamber member from Waldo County, outside Belfast, that has demonstrated sound business development, civic involvement, or support for the overall business community.

The Chamber Appreciation Award is awarded by the chamber’s board of directors and goes to the community member that has helped the  chamber achieve its goals..

The Chamber Annual Awards gala is the penultimate event in the chamber’s yearly events calendar. Holiday by the Bay in December will put a bow on the business organization’s annual events. Havey says it’s a great way to celebrate success, while also looking ahead.

“All of the award nominees are deserving,” she said. “We have had a great year, and this is an opportunity to celebrate that. Then we reset and move forward with more ideas and energy.”