This coming Thursday is one of the highlights of the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce’s year.

Heck, it’s one of the highlights of Laurens County’s year.

The 12th Annual College Football Fan Challenge, in the form of “the Oyster Roast,” will be held on the grounds of the Chamber and the Laurens County Development Corporation (291 Professional Park Rd.) on Thursday, Nov. 7.

The ticket price, $40, is well worth it. A group as diverse as a downtown festival or a football game shows up to cheer on their favorite college football teams – mainly Clemson, South Carolina and Presbyterian – and enjoy food, beverage and fellowship.

Tickets are on sale online (search LAURENS at or at the Chamber office.

Rumor has it that not everyone loves steamed oysters, but very few do not enjoy either steamed oysters, Low Country Boil or chicken gumbo. Many who do enjoy oysters find them particularly tasty in the company of beer.

The event is both a slice of Laurens County life and one of the better ideas the Chamber ever had.

Mascots and cheerleaders will schmooze with preachers, teachers, insurance men (and women), doctors, lawyers, coaches, celebrities and people wearing camo because they arrived straight from the woods.

Auctions, both silent and live, are in the works. It is the so-called “Signature Event” of the season, after Halloween and leading inexorably toward Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and, of course, the Bowl Championship Series.

Lost amid the frivolity was a review of activities at the chamber that promote commerce.

Named Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Third Quarter was Matt Dean of USC Union at Laurens, and Adair Apothecary, owned by Forrest Adair, was Small Business of Excellence for the third quarter.

LCDC’s Jonathan Coleman reported on the organization’s progress on a new strategic plan for manufacturing recruitment and other activities. Michael Seymour, the Chamber’s connection to Connect Lake Greenwood, talked about emerging plans for lakeside Christmas activities. Marlene Owings reviewed the financials, discussed the Oyster Roast and reported on the current Leadership Laurens County class.

Prisma Health’s Justin Benfield revealed the formation of a Laurens County Coalition for a Healthy and Vibrant Community, a long-term process affiliated with the school districts and advancing the cause of behavioral health.

Marilyn Easter described the annual Laurens County Industry & Agriculture Tour, which featured visits to Walmart Distribution Center, Coggins Poultry Farm and Fox Pipe Farm. Business ribbon cuttings were held at Elite Home Care and Day Center and Southern Lovin,’ a family salon.

The Capital Project Sales Tax Referendum also received appropriate play at the meeting. It’s only a year away.

The Chamber’s new members are Atkins Data and Telephone Services (Inman), Patriots Kitchen of Clinton, Family Promise of Laurens County, Bourbon & Bubbles of Clinton, Brett Mitchell Insurance and Financial Services of Laurens, SwaimBrown Wealth Management of Clinton, Comfort Suites of Clinton and Valor Medical Services of Laurens.