Fresh seafood, cold beverages and good tunes were the business of the day Friday as Liberty County Chamber of Commerce members took a break from the daily grind to kick back and relax at the annual membership-appreciation Lowcountry boil.
Business owners, operators, employees, community leaders and entrepreneurs gathered at Bryant Commons, where they feasted on oysters, shrimp, corn, sausage, potatoes and frosty libations before grooving to the sounds of rock band 3rd Class Citizens.
Former Poole’s Deli owner Susan McCorkle said she supplied most of the food, which the chamber purchased, and chamber board members helped prepare it.
“This is a good event for chamber members to get together in a relaxed environment and socialize,” McCorkle said.
Chamber Executive Director Leah Poole said about 225 people attended the party, which her organization plan-ned months ahead of time.
“We start planning in early July and meet monthly until mid-August and then biweekly from there,” said Poole, who added that the sponsors — Columns at Independence, Gata’s, CenturyLink, The Heritage Bank, Liberty Regional Medical Center, Yates Astro, and Jimmy and Brigitte Shanken of Coldwell Banker Holtzman, Realtors — make the festivities possible.
All those weeks of planning make for a great event, according to VIP Office Furniture and Supply employee Barbara Meador Finster, who attended with coworker Cathy O’Hagan.
“The committee for the Lowcountry boil outdid itself this year,” Finster said. “The band was fantastic and gave a very festive feel to the night. We all work so hard now, and I think any time we can get together and just enjoy each other, we grow stronger — not only as a chamber, but also as a community.”
O’Hagan also appreciated the opportunity to put business aside, if only for a few hours.
“So much of the time, we run into our local businesses, do what we have to do and off we go. These functions are a wonderful opportunity to mingle and not only enjoy time together but also learn more about the community and what others have to offer. Relationships grow business, and these events offer the opportunity to grow relationships,” O’Hagan said.
Lowcountry-boil committee chairman Marcus Sack had the idea to add a cornhole tournament this year, and it drew quite a crowd, according to Poole.
It was “extremely popular and something we will try to do again in future years,” the chamber executive director said.
She stressed the importance of providing an outlet that allows the area’s movers and shakers to network and take it easy.
“It really brings a large group of community leaders and business folks together in an informal setting where they can kick back, relax and get to know one another in a non-sales way,” Poole said. “For our military leaders who were also present, it’s another way for them to get out into the community and meet and greet people in an easy-going atmosphere without the pressure of being formal.”