Hundreds spent the evening laughing, networking and learning more about Conway during the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s 128th annual meeting.
The event at the University of Central Arkansas Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Center included videos with local leaders starring in skits from school-based TV shows and movies.
“In a city with three high schools and three colleges, education is truly around every corner,” Chamber officials said. “This year a city with class is taking you back to school.”
The videos — “Saved by the Bell,” “The Breakfast Club,” “Happy Days” and “High School Musical,” the latter of which featured the Chamber staff dancing and lip-syncing to the song the event’s theme came from, “We’re All In This Together” — received raucous laughter and applause from the crowd. Attendees were encouraged to use the hashtag #Conwaytogether when posting to social media about the event.
Mayor Bart Castleberry, who served with the Conway Fire Department for 33 years before retiring as chief, made sure everyone knew where the fire exits were. Castleberry also starred as Principal Mr. Belding in the “Saved by the Bell” skit.
UCA President Houston Davis, who starred as John Bender in the “Breakfast Club” skit, said he was proud to call Conway home.
“We consider ourselves very fortunate to be in this place at this time,” he said. “We know the city of colleges tag has plenty of sustenance to go with the saying.”
Johnny Allsion, founder of Home BancShares and Centennial Bank, was the guest speaker.
Allison said he was “just a hard-working guy from Jonesboro that came to Conway many years ago and got an opportunity and seized upon the opportunity.”
Allison said he had planned to open a small “Conway bank to take care of friends and family.”
“The entrepreneurship in me and the businessman in me won’t let me sit still,” he said of growing the business to nearly $15 billion, which he credited his team with. “I get lots of credit for lots of things, more so than I ever deserve because I don’t run the banks … my team of 11 regions, the operators, they run the banks. The keys are trust and loyalty. When I get good people, I hang on to them.”
To view the videos from Thursday’s event, visit the Chamber’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ConwayARChamber.