You might think that a group of business stiffs would throw a dull event. But these are gay business folks, after all, and they don’t do stodgy when they gather Friday for the annual Community Awards Dinner.

The annual event from the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (view photos from 2011) fetes their members, but even better, it awards LGBT business people who give back by volunteering their time and getting involved in civic affairs. It’s set for the posh W Midtown. And Melissa Carter! Atlanta’s fave lesbian radio host and news gabber emcees the event.

Yes, Friday. So hurry as ticket sales for the event close on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

When the gays gather at the event, they’ll deliver a Lifetime Achievement Award to Richard Rhodes, who ran for office as a gay candidate when gay wasn’t so cool in 1988.

Richard Rhodes is the first openly gay man to run for office in Atlanta and in Georgia in 1988. While he did not win that election, Richard paved the way for other LGBT people to be elected and become more politically active.

Richard also was the first openly gay delegate to the Democratic National Convention from Georgia in 1988 and also in 1992.  In 1993 he became the first openly gay Chairman of the DeKalb Democratic Party.

Currently he serves as a founding member of the Atlanta SAGE, a program of the Health Initiative,  and as a indefatigable volunteer for St Mark United Methodist Church in Midtown.  He is currently active in Democratic politics in Georgia, and with the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

And the envelope please … Past award winners will be on hand Friday to take off their crowns and hand them to a fresh crop of award-winners. The nominees include:

Business Woman of the Year
Marci Alt, Carmi Productions
Karla Kreitner, Kardon Events
Sheila Merritt, Q&A Events
Barb Rowland, Common Ground Real Estate

Business Man of the Year
Adam Rimes, Administrivia
John Benthal, Mission Motif
Rick Kern, Mix It Marketing
Tyler Calkins, Fenuxe Magazine

Corporate Ally
Cox Enterprises

Guardian Angel
James Parker Sheffield
Glen Paul Freedman
Jeff Graham
Linda Ellis

Member of the Year
Q&A Events
No Mas Cantina
Cleo Meyer State Farm
Lab Monkey Design

Photo by Sher Pruitt