The Salem Chamber of Commerce’s annual SAIF Agri-Business Banquet features Steve Rizzo, a Hall of Fame speaker and Showtime Comedy All-Star, who elicits laughter while motivating audiences to discover increased productivity, greater enthusiasm and new levels of success.

Rizzo, who has shared the stage with comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Rodney Dangerfield, Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres and other giants of comedy, switched from straight comedian to Hall of Fame speaker in the prime of his career, according to his website. He is one of fewer than 200 speakers worldwide to be inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame since 1977, according to the site.

The banquet, scheduled Jan. 18 at the Salem Convention Center, for the first time this year is partnering with the Northwest Ag Show and the first-ever Salem Ag Week, a weeklong celebration of agriculture in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Capital Press and its family-owned parent company, EO Media Group, which have taken over operations of the Northwest Ag Show, moved it from Portland to Salem and is launching Salem Ag Week.

“We are excited that we are partnering with the Northwest Agricultural Show,” said Kate Gillem, director of public relations for the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of our members are really happy and excited that the show moved from Portland to Salem, and it is pretty awesome that our banquet is a capstone to the week.

“It is a great way to say: ‘Hey, let’s celebrate agriculture,’” Gillem said.

Gillem pointed out that Willamette Valley Vineyards is sponsoring wine for the event, the Willamette Valley Pie Co. is sponsoring dessert and the Chemeketa Community College Ag Sciences program is providing center pieces for the tables.

The event also includes a short presentation from an FFA student, who will be awarded a scholarship from Portland General Electric.

“The Salem Area Chamber of Commerce prioritizes hosting this event, along with title sponsor SAIF and presenting sponsor KeyBank, because we are dedicated to promoting a strong economy and job growth,” Gillem said, noting that nearly 12 percent of all jobs in Oregon are connected to farming and ranching.

“As the state’s leader in agriculture production, agriculture and Salem just go together,” Gillem said.

The banquet begins with a social hour at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7.

For more information and for tickets, contact the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce at 503-581-1466 or go to www.saifagribusiness.com.

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