The Canal Winchester Area Chamber of Commerce will present its annual dinner and business expo Friday, March 12, at the Cheers and Lakeside Chalet, 1211 Coonpath Road N.W., Lancaster.

The Canal Winchester Area Chamber of Commerce will present its annual dinner and business expo Friday, March 12, at the Cheers and Lakeside Chalet, 1211 Coonpath Road N.W., Lancaster.

Doors will open for the expo at 5:30 p.m., with dinner to follow at 7 p.m.

"The theme for this year's event is 'It's a Jungle Out There,'" said chamber president Kim Rankin.

The safari theme will be reflected in the evening's menu, which will include appetizers made of alligator meat.

In lieu of a silent auction, event organizers have planned a "safari auction," Rankin said. Guests may purchase raffle tickets for specific auction items.

Representatives from the Columbus Zoo will be on hand with a variety of animals, and George Amagnoh will bring a display of African artifacts.

Amagnoh is originally from Ghana, Africa. He worked for the Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University as the African collections research assistant.

A new offering at this year's dinner will be shuttle service from Canal Winchester to Lancaster. Mike Ippoliti, president of the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society, will serve as a guide.

Awards for Business of the Year, Businessperson of the Year and Pillar of the Community will be presented.

In selecting the individuals and businesses to be honored, Rankin said the chamber looked for "how they've promoted their business and what they've given back to the community."

Thirty exhibitors will participate in the expo, and Rankin said she expects around 150 guests. The chamber is celebrating is 25th anniversary this year, and the annual dinner has been held since the chamber's inception.

Tickets are $40 per person, and must be purchased by Friday, March 5. Proceeds will benefit the chamber.

To order tickets, call the chamber office at (614) 837-1556 or e-mail kim@canalwinchester.com