By Sally Voth
NEW MARKET -- From the black hats and wands and white bunnies on each table, to the performing illusionist, there was magic in the air at Thursday's New Market Area Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet at the Quality Inn.
"There are many ways to define magic, but one that I particularly like is extraordinary quality or power, wonderful and marvelous, exciting," emcee Susie Hill said just prior to dinner.
She added there is magic in new businesses coming to town, and magic in working not only within your community, but regionally.
"When people work together and they form partnerships and they work with good ethics and cooperation, you can get so much done," Hill said.
As diners finished their meals of chicken, beef, noodles, vegetables, potatoes and sumptuous biscuits, Hill's brother, magician Ralph MacPhail provided the entertainment. Hill said he had retired as head of the drama department at Bridgewater College.
MacPhail kept the audience laughing while also incorporating a few members into his tricks.
The banquet concluded with several annual awards.
New Market Rotary Club was named the Outstanding Organization of the Year. Presenter Jim Douglas spoke of the club's good deeds, which include road clean up, feeding 100 families at Thanksgiving, and donations to Stonewall Jackson High School, the town library and more.
"This past year, we gave out 11 wheelchairs to people in the area," he added.
New Market Rotary President Jeff Kahl accepted the award.
"Rotarians believe in service above self," he said. "We're indeed a mighty little group."
New Market Exxon was named Outstanding Business of the Year.
"This business exemplifies to me what's great about New Market and living in a small town," Douglas said. "It's almost like another era."
Susan Smith was named Outstanding Citizen of the Year. Among the roles she fills are librarian at North Fork Middle School, caretaker to her own and others' cats, children's book author and Civil War re-enactor, Douglas said.
The 2013 Board of Directors was also announced Thursday. President is Cathy Wittig-Donald, vice president is Dominique Armentrout. The rest of the board is made up of Terri Linski, Tanya Rosenberry, Tom Constable, Hill, Karla Kokkonen, Velma Jordan, Judy DeLaughter and Kathy Boyles.
Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org