MORE than 250 businesses have been nominated for this year's Gympie Chamber of Commerce Business Awards and organisers have said business is abuzz.
"We've never seen the business world so excited about the awards before,” said Chamber of Commerce president Ben Riches.
The awards, the second of which Mr Riches has organised and which are on at the Gympie Civic Centre this Saturday night, will showcase finalists in 10 different categories such as: customer service, entrepreneur of the year, educator, new business, small business, tourism, not-for-profit, marketing campaign, people's choice and the big one, Business of the Year.
"I didn't envy the judges. I would not have been able to choose between them because of how stiff the competition was this year,” Mr Riches said.
The judges, Julie Williams from Agsolutions, Lynne Wilbraham representing the Gympie Regional Council and Michelle Perrett, wife of Gympie MP Tony Perrett, oversaw the gruelling selection process, which included written submissions and a panel interview with judges, totally independent of the Chamber of Commerce.
"There are normally only four finalists selected for each category, but in some there are as many as six, because the judges felt they all deserved to be there,” he said.
The People's Choice category was also hotly contested and attracted more than 1200 votes from members of the public.
More than 150 tickets have already been sold, with more than 200 people expected to attend the gala event, which this year will be held on Saturday night, and to fit in with Gympie's 150th birthday, has the theme All that Glitters is Gold.
"We've changed the format a little, and minimised on the formalities to make it more of a party atmosphere and start the celebrating earlier,” Mr Riches said.
"It also means that business owners won't have to rush off and open shop the next morning.”
In addition to live entertainment, catering will be provided by Kingston House and announcer for the evening will be milliner to the stars, Cindy Vogels.
Anyone is able to purchase tickets to the Business Awards through the Gympie Chamber website at gympiechamber.com.au and tickets are $110 per head or $800 for a table for eight or for members of the Gympie Chamber it's $90 each or $640 for a table.
Tickets are available for sale up until close of business tomorrow.
"We're really excited. I came in at the tail end of preparations last year, about six to eight weeks prior, so to be involved from the start this time has been really invigorating,” Mr Riches said.
Make sure you head back to www.gympietimes.com.au for all the live results on Saturday night, or pick up next Tuesday's paper for a full rundown on all the winners.