Make plans to sign up for a 2009 SunDowner

It’s like SunDowner radar.

The calls are starting to come in about when businesses can sign up for next year’s 10, monthly SunDowner events.

SunDowners are business after-hours functions sponsored by the Chamber and a partner Chamber business. One is held each month except January and September.

The January slot is set aside for the annual meeting and September is slated for the ColorFest activities. That leaves 10 months to tout your business.

Sign-up time is Monday, Oct. 6, beginning at 8 a.m. This is not to say that people traditionally do not show up earlier than 8 a.m. to find a place in line and to vie to that “must have” month for their SunDowner.

Knowing that people come early, we will have coffee available out on the porch as well as numbers from one to 10 that you can pick up upon your arrival. The number indicates your place in the pool of businesses requesting a month. Lower numbers obviously get first choice. We will also create a waiting list in case a business or two cancel during the year.

SunDowners are typically held the fourth Wednesday of the month, except for November and December when, due to the holidays, they are held the third Wednesday.

The sponsoring business provides appetizer-type food (or whatever food or theme the host chooses) and the Chamber provides the beverages.

SunDowners are open to Chamber members, newcomers with an invitation included in their welcoming packet provided by the Welcoming Service, and invited guests of the sponsoring business.

The reasons for these business after-hours gatherings are many. New businesses may want to introduce the community to services; established businesses may want to reintroduce the public to services they offer, especially if they have added or changed something, or have moved. Some retail businesses participate in SunDowners to enhance business traffic flow. Some businesses co-op on the SunDowner and use a “block party” approach to their mutual advantage. A business that does not have store frontage may want to co-op with a business that does. SunDowners are also great networking events, where people can catch up on business happenings in the community and at which Chamber representatives are available to provide suggestions or comments.

If you have any questions concerning SunDowner sign-up, call the Chamber at 264-2360 and speak with Kimberley or Mary Jo. We hope to see a great crowd this year on sign-up day: Monday, Oct. 6.

Let’s Cha Cha

Even with a full weekend of ColorFest activities, the month’s events are not complete. We close out September with the Mountain Chile Cha Cha Saturday, Sept. 27.

The morning begins with a mini-marathon that consists of a 15, 7 and 3 mile runs up, down and all around Reservoir Hill. The races begin and end in Town Park and there is even a 1-mile “fun run” for the kids. Costs for entering the races are $10 for the fun run, $20 for the 3 mile run, $30 for the 7 mile run, and $40 for the 15 mile run. All race entrants get a cool T-shirt, all race finishers get prizes, and the first three finishers (in both men’s and women’s categories) in the 15 mile run will be awarded cash prizes. The fun run begins at 8:15 a.m. and the remaining races begin at 9. To find out more about the event or to register for the race, go online to www.joingecko.com.

Then, for all you chefs — amateur and professional — the first Patty Aragon Green Chile Classic will follow the race. The Chile Classic will be held in Town Park. Participants in the event will need to bring their chile creations to the park between 11-11:30 a.m. There will be amateur and commercial categories for vegetarian and meat green chile entries. The event opens to the public at noon. You can purchase tasting tickets at 50 cents per ticket and there will be a People’s Choice award. Amateur winners will receive $200 in prize money and winning commercial entities obtain a trophy and bragging rights. For more information about the Chile Classic, go online to www.folkwest.com/hile.htm or call the Chamber for an entry application.

The music begins at 1:30 p.m. with two talented musical groups: Euforquesra and Nosotros. The free concert in Town Park will cap a day of fun for the whole family, that also includes a beer garden, food vendors and children’s activities.

October events

There will be lots of Octoberfest activities in Pagosa, and here are a few items to mark down on your calendar.

Archuleta Seniors Inc. will host Oktoberfest this year on Saturday, Oct. 11, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. There will be a fabulous, full meal available, consisting of brats (vegetarian and meat), German potato salad, sauerkraut, and dessert. There will be music, a nice selection of beers, and a silent auction. Tickets in advance are $20 for adults ($25 at the door), $12 in advance and $15 at the door for senior members. Children are admitted for $5. Family packages are also available for $40 in advance and $45 at the door. We will be talking more about the activities in future articles, but put this event on your calendar.

From Thursday, Oct. 23 to Saturday, Oct. 25, the Springs Theatre Company will hold a fall production of “Clue! The Musical”. This dinner theater production will be performed at the PLPOA Clubhouse with dinner beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $35 with advance purchase required, and can be procured by calling the Plaid Pony at 731-5262 or online at http://springstheatrecompany.org/OnlineTickets.htm.

A pecial cooking class is also planned for October. Pagosa Baking Co. will team up with the V.A. Poma Ranch, located in the beautiful Weminuche Valley, for a High Altitude Baking Camp. You’ll learn how to convert recipes, perform hands-on testing and work with a recipe that you’ve had trouble with. Attendees will start off with brunch Saturday, Oct. 25, and continue on to baking classes conducted by Kathy Keyes. Saturday evening’s dinner will include results from the day’s work, as well as a campfire gathering. Accommodations are at the Poma Ranch in the comfortable camp cabins. You will be sent on your way Sunday after a breakfast of sourdough pancakes and wonderful accoutrements. Accommodations are limited to 12 people, so make your reservations now by calling the Poma Ranch at 731-5746. Relish this autumn experience, savoring good food and making new friends.

Membership news

We have one new member to welcome this week. Perhaps you saw them at Passport to Pagosa. The new kid in the historic downtown 400 block of Pagosa Street is The Quaking Aspen Café and Gallery. Owned and managed by Jenny and Sean McCarthy, this upscale café and gallery has a few unique aspects. The images in the gallery are by award-winning photographer Jenny McCarthy, who focuses mainly on nature subjects and landscapes, primarily in the Four Corners area. The food is tasty and the offerings include salads, panini sandwiches, vegetarian dishes, lox and bagels, a cappuccino bar, and a full bar, with fine wines. Don’t forget their Martini Bar as well and their drink specials. You can enjoy the atmosphere inside or watch the Pagosa Street traffic outside at this quaint location. Stop by the restaurant to peruse the full menu.

Our renewals this week include Victoria’s Parlor; Ray and Robin Ball; Pat Carey and Hibernation Station; and Pagosa Springs Rotary Club . Our local Rotary Club is part of a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders providing humanitarian services. Rotary represents a cross section of professional men and women who are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races and creeds. This club meets Thursdays at noon at JJ’s Riverwalk. If you are interested in joining the club or have moved here from another community and would like to join, go online to pagosarotary.org to obtain more information or attend one of their meetings and enjoy the camaraderie and many good works that this group performs for our community.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in this past week’s ColorFest activities. It was a weekend filled with great events, perfect weather, and fun for all ages. This community event would not be possible without the help of numerous volunteers, sponsors and businesses. I would like to thank our restaurants for participating in the Passport event Friday. Thanks as well to Pagosa Brewing for rallying 10 regional breweries to participate in what we hope will be a yearly event. The group who worked on the balloon glow did a wonderful job putting together the event and creating a great space for glowing and launching this year. Particular thanks goes to the Chamber staff members who put in long hours and did hard, physical work to make sure the community and our visitors had a wonderful time in Pagosa. Every year, we try to make this event bigger and better. We hope we fulfill your expectations and that every year we offer a little something different for the public to enjoy. We’re already planning next year’s ColorFest!