Honorees and other guests at Thursday's annual Lodi Chamber of Commerce Citizens of the Year Awards are in for a little change - not to mention a little music.
Festivities will hit a high note Thursday evening in Hutchins Street Square's rotunda as winners accept their awards in between sets featuring four of Lodi's most accomplished musicians.
Recipients for 2001 honors include:
Don "Grandpa" Phillips, a local farmer active in the community for more than half a century, who has been selected for the chamber's William T. Harkins Citizen of the Year Award.
Alan Vallow, Lodi's Electric Utility director, who will receive the Industrialist of the Year Award.
Ag Industrial Manufacturing, a pioneering Lodi business run by inventor Claude Brown and partner Paul Burkner, which won the Industry of the Year Award.
Grape grower Steven Furry, who helped blaze the trail in the local production of premium varietal wine grapes more than three decades ago, who has been picked as Agribusiness Person of the Year.
Additionally, Cathy Newhall will be honored as the chamber's Street Faire Volunteer of the Year while Nicole Goehring will be feted as Chamber Volunteer of the Year.
The new format is the brainchild of Pat Patrick, the chamber's new executive director, who was recruited to fill the position last year after Robert Andosca's resignation.
The new format will give honorees the opportunity to invite friends and family to attend festivities, while the public will be afforded the chance to enjoy the free hour-long musical portion of Thursday's event, which begins at 6:30 p.m.
A reception starts at 5:30 p.m.
The evening's musical entertainment will showcase a lineup of performances by a pianist, a bassoonist, a violinist and a singer.
Between performances, the chamber will pay tribute to this year's honorees, who are being recognized for a host of diverse contributions to the community.
Vallow gained nationwide attention in July when he refused an order to cut power to Lodi ratepayers during a statewide rolling blackout, contending that the city-owned utility's customers had already done more than their fair share to cut consumption.
Ag Industrial Manufacturing is a firm long well-known to grape growers around the world. The Lodi firm, headed by Brown, enjoys widespread notoriety for introducing a series of revolutionary new harvesting machines and implements over the past two decades.
Furry, founder and operator of Lodi's Furry Vineyards, began farming in the area in 1949.
Furry, 78, switched from row crops to wine grapes in 1969, planting about 80 acres of zinfandel vines.
Becoming a pioneer in the area's premium varietal production, Furry helped blaze a trail for growers who followed him to find lucrative markets for their harvests at the upscale wineries of the North Coast and Napa Valley.
Tickets for the dinner, which will be held in Kirst Hall, cost $35 per person. Call (209) 340-4107 for further information.