PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The Bay County Chamber of Commerce celebrated their 109th year in business on Friday at their annual dinner and awards ceremony.

The 2020 Bay County Chamber of Commerce dinner was postponed to June in 2021. Now, they’re back on schedule holding the annual event in January.

“Well we just did this 6 months ago but it’s time to get things back to normal we’re excited to celebrate our 109th year in business so it’s a great evening and we have a wonderful crowd joining us tonight,” said Bay County Chamber of Commerce President, Carol Roberts.

Roberts said the chamber saw a lot of success in 2021.

“We saw many of our issues that we have been following for years and pushing for, for example, a hotel in downtown Panama City you know Indigo broke ground, funding for the STEM building at Gulf Coast State College just to name a few,” Roberts said.

She said they’re looking forward to continuing the growth Bay County experienced in 2021 into 2022.

“The tourism industry, our airport is growing, the port is growing, businesses are opening up, our EDA announced two new industries in a two week time period so that’s a pretty good indication of what we can expect in 2022,” Roberts said.

Friday’s event was also about changing over leadership. Former Chamber Chairman, Christopher Moore, said even though he’s passing on the roll to Garrett Anderson, he said it only gets better.

“I follow on as the Military Affairs Committee chairman for 2022 so I’ll still be a part of the organization but it is bittersweet in the fact that it was an excellent job and just a fine time to really help Bay County be a better Bay,” Moore said.

The chamber also presented two awards tonight, the Chamber Member of the Year award and the Merriam Award which is the chamber’s highest honor.

Chamber Member of the Year was awarded to Kyle Shoots of System Service and Engineering and the Merriam Award was presented to Dr. James Cook for his devotion to making the community a better place.