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Passport to Pagosa winners announced

An evening of great fun was had Sept. 10 at the 2010 Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival.

Nine Pagosa restaurants came out in full force, wowing the crowd with some awesome food creations while people also enjoyed wines from four countries and beers from Pagosa Brewing Co., sponsored by Citizens Bank.

The judges claimed they had a difficult job making the final decisions, as there was so much good food.

Congratulations to the following restaurants. For Best Presentation, using different ingredients to produce multiple colors and the creative use of ingredients, the winner was JJ’s Riverwalk for seared scallops in a strega liquor butter sauce. The runner up was Ajia for their pad thai. The winner of the Most Flavorful entree, using a combination of a variety of flavors and food to create the item was Ajia for their pad thai, with the runner up being Farrago Market Café for their Thai red curry braised pork Asian corn sliders. The Most Original winner was again JJ’s Riverwalk for those delicious scallops. The runner up was Farrago Market Café for the tasty braised pork corn sliders. The Best Sweet category was judged on the ability to enjoy a “stand-alone” treat as well as a nice presentation. The winner was Nello’s Bistro for their caramel pannacotta with whipped cream and fresh berries. The runner up was The Plaza Grille for their decadent brownie. The Best Decorated station went to Ajia with their bright colors, origami creations and clean looks. The runner up was Nello’s.

The people attending the event were also encouraged to deposit a coin at the station of their choice to award the “People’s Choice” award. Running away with the votes was Nello’s Bistro with the runner up being Boss Hoggs. Several of the restaurants are introducing new items on their menus and used this venue to do so.

If you attended the Passport, please pass on congratulations to our restaurant participants – they worked very hard to provide great food for the masses while running their own businesses on a very busy weekend: Ajia, Alley House Grille, Boss Hoggs, Farrago Market Café, JJ’s Riverwalk, Nello’s Bistro, Pagosa Baking, Pagosa Brewing, and Plaza Grille.

At the Bands, Brews competition, we had two winners in the musical competition. The winner of the Single/Duo competition was Pagosa’s own Debbee Tucker and the winner of the band portion of the competition was a group out of Bayfield — Barkadaeus. There was a wide range of music, from bluegrass to heavy rock, providing entertainment to a wide range of age groups. We appreciate all the groups that participated and, again, just because a group didn’t win, doesn’t mean they weren’t excellent and appreciated by the audience.

As a reminder — ColorFest for 2011 will be held on the second weekend in September. This is a magical time in Pagosa Springs and we hope to see this event continue to grow.

Additional revenue sources

On Tuesday, Sept. 21, the monthly Business Bites luncheon series will feature the Town Tourism Committee and Gateway Reservations in an effort to show owners of tourism-related businesses how they can garner additional revenue. In 2009, the TTC entered into a contract with Gateway Reservations, based out of Durango, to offer lodging and tourism-related businesses the opportunity to sell their products through this central reservations system. Gateway Reservations is a commission-based organization with clients in Durango, Glenwood Springs, and now Pagosa Springs — along with lodging entities in other locations. The benefit of this central reservation system is that, when a client calls in to book a room in Pagosa Springs, they can also book other activities such as a rafting trip, a horseback ride or balloon ride, or rent ski equipment, book a snowmobile tour, etc. Gateway receives a commission on all packages booked, but the business receives bookings generating additional income that may never have been attained without their service. Companies can determine how many rooms or packages to offer.

The September Business Bites seminar will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center at noon Tuesday, Sept. 21. The cost is $5 and lunch will be served. A representative from Gateway will remain after the session to answer any questions. At a time when everyone is looking for increased sales, this is a great opportunity to see if this central reservations system is right for you. While walk-ins are always welcome, just to ensure we provide enough lunches, we ask that you call the chamber to reserve your space at 264-2360. Cast your business net a little wider and explore other options for improving sales for your business.

Marketing for Smarties

The fall session of Marketing for Smarties is upon us and registration is now open.

This intense three-session marketing course begins Oct. 6, and continues on Oct. 27 and Nov. 10, with all classes held at the Chamber from 6-9 p.m.

The classes will be taught by Marcy Mitchell, owner of MTECH, a Pagosa Internet marketing firm. Marcy has taught Marketing for Smarties for several years now and continues to challenge businesses to market their business more effectively.

The fee for the course is $149, which includes books and all other materials. There are scholarships available through Region 9 and the Small Business Development Center.

To register for the course, contact Lynn Asano with the SBDC at 247-7009.

Fall festivities

Mountain Chile Cha-Cha. With the cool weather and smells of roasting green chile wafting in the air, it is time for the Mountain Chile Cha-Cha. On Saturday, Sept. 25, this two-part festival will bring lots of entertainment to the community. In the morning, athletes can compete in the final phase of the Pagosa Peak Mountain Trail Race Series. Participants can run a 3-, 7- or 15-mile race in the Reservoir Hill area. The race will start and finish in Town Park. While the runners are racing, green chile concoctions will be delivered to Town Park for the Mountain Chile Cha-Cha chile competition. Tasting begins at 12:30 p.m. Attendees can purchase tickets to taste chile entries in both amateur and professional categories. There will also be free entertainment beginning at 1:30 with the Brooks I band and Nosotros, and a cash beer booth will be open all afternoon. This is a terrific event to round out the Pagosa outdoor season. For more information on the chile cookoff or to be a vendor, contact Jacque Aragon at, or 264-4237. To find out more about the race or to register, go to

Struttin’ at the Strater. Partnering again this year are the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs and the Dogster Spay & Neuter Fund of Durango as they present the second “Struttin’ at the Strater” Fashion Show event Saturday, Sept. 25, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The latest in fashion trends from some of southwest Colorado’s favorite retail stores will be paraded on the Strater stage by local models. Attendees will be able to enjoy door prizes and store discounts when they shop, as well as fantastic gourmet hors d’oeuvres served by local “famous” waiters. There will be a competition for the “Best Struttin’ Waiter” as they compete for tips to win this coveted title. While the runway tables have already sold out for this year’s event, there are still non-runway tables available, as well as tables for four, individual tickets, and bar seating. For more information on this event, contact the HSPS at 264-5549, or the Dogster Fund at 759-5676.


We have three new members to welcome to the Chamber this week.

While not a new business, we have new owners at the San Juan Motel. The San Juan Motel will be going through a room renovation project, really spiffing up that lodging facility. The San Juan Motel has 15 cabins, 32 motel units and lodging will now include a free continental breakfast, as well as some deluxe suites. The largest cabin can sleep 10. For more information, call 264-2262.

Also in the lodging arena we have a private home, Casa Buena Vista, joining the Chamber. Casa Buena is a five-bedroom home with gorgeous views from the Kinnikinnik area in Holiday Acres. Enjoy the hot tub and pastures for your horses. For reservations, call George McManus at (904) 742-4110.

We also welcome Friends of the Chamber Paige and Doug Wiersma.

Our renewals this week include CenturyLink; Dr. Gerlinde Ehni, DDS; Plaza Liquor; Shang Hai Restaurant; Arborilogical West with tree expert Chris Pierce; Summer Phillips, goldsmith; Wolf Creek Traders; Firefly Ranch; and Pagosa Trail Riders.

Remember that hunting season will be rolling in full force during the next couple of weeks. This is a tremendous industry in our community and we appreciate all the business our hunter visitors bring us. Make sure you roll out the red carpet and are sufficiently staffed for the key arrival and departure days for the various draws. Should you need hunting information, call the Chamber at 264-2360, or the Forest Service at 264-2268.