By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

No black tie is necessary for this year’s Keizer First Citizen Awards banquet, set for Saturday, Jan. 28.

The theme for 2012’s event is “Jackets and Jeans,” so we can only imagine what the dress code might be at the Keizer Civic Center that night.

“Basically we wanted the governor to attend,” joked Christine Dieker, executive director of the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. “The (Iris Festival) theme iris is ‘Silverado,’ which lends itself to more of a country-western theme.”

Tickets are $50 and are available at the door in limited quantities. The annual event recognizes outstanding community volunteers in several categories:

First Citizen: Presented to an outstanding community volunteer. Last year’s winner was Jeramy Williams, director of Keizer Young Life.

Merchant of the Year: Given to a local businessperson who has made significant contributions. Last year’s winner was Rick Day, owner of Advantage Precast.

Service to Education Award: Presented to either a teacher or other community member who has made contributions to local education. Last year’s winner was Linda Baker, formerly the drama director at McNary High School.

Presidents Award: An honor bestowed by the chamber’s president. Last year’s winner was Sherrie Gottfried, sales manager at the Keizer Renaissance Inn.

But this year it’s not just about celebrating the contributions of community volunteers. There’s several anniversaries: The city of Keizer turns 30 years old, the Iris Festival began in earnest 25 years ago and the 200th anniversary of the Wallace House, a home some historians believe was on the current site of Wallace House Park. The house was established by a party from Astoria, who had boated up the river in 1812 in search of food.

Current and former city officials will be on hand, Dieker said, as well as key volunteers who were instrumental in the Iris Festival’s early years.

Festivities begin with no-host cocktails at 5 p.m. with the dinner and program beginning at 7 p.m. Lyndon Zaitz, publisher of the Keizertimes, will be this year’s emcee.

Musical duo Sinker & Crow are providing entertainment.