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Salt Lake Chamber celebrates 125 years with gala

Published: Wednesday, April 18 2012 9:37 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake Chamber celebrated a big anniversary Wednesday with a gala at the Grand America Hotel.

"Tonight, what we're celebrating is 125 years of business leadership," said chamber spokesman Marty Carpenter. "We've got a pretty rich history."

Carpenter admitted chamber meetings can be dry, so rather than have a keynote speaker give a speech, the Salt Lake Chamber opted for a late night talk show format to entertain the 800 attendees.

"We're outside of the box for sure," Carpenter said.

Comedian Curt Dousset, a BYU graduate and star of Discovery Channel's Hazard Pay, hosted the program. Dousset interviewed Salt Lake business leaders and spoofed Carnac the Magnificent, the magician played by TV personality Johnny Carson on the "Tonight Show."

Dressed as the magician, Dousset pretended to psychically read questions in sealed envelopes before opening them to read the question.  

"BYU, Utah and David Archuleta," he said before opening the envelope. "What are three things that left the Mountain West this year?"

Carpenter said the gala was a time to celebrate the Salt Lake Chamber's efforts to help local businesses.

"We've evolved into an organization that is here to benefit businesses," he said. "Each of these businesses might not have a very loud voice, but with the chamber, they do."

Salt Lake Chamber President Lane Beattie said he was grateful for the contributions of the businesses represented by the chamber and thanked them for their support.

"Industry has been an important part of our state from the day the pioneers arrived in the valley and immediately went to work to improve their new home," Beattie said in a statement in the gala program. "As Utahns, our work ethic, spirit of collaboration and zeal for constant improvement sets up apart."

The Salt Lake Chamber is Utah's largest business association and is made up of 7,700 businesses, representing nearly half the workforce of the state.

E-mail: hschwarz@desnews.com

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