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More awards, prizes and fun at annual meeting

Yes, the Chamber articles for the next couple of weeks will be highlighting the Chamber Annual Meeting and Celebration coming up on Saturday, Jan. 22.

As the weeks count down to the actual event, more and more auction items are coming into the Chamber. These donations are fantastic items for the general public, but there are many products that are geared toward the businesses and are only available by attending the annual meeting.

We have received some great donations including the Small Business Development Center offering either a Leading Edge or Marketing for Smarties certificate. There will also be several vacation trips up for auction.

Along with these special items, we will have merchandise, clothing and jewelry. The “Brown Bag” raffle will be in effect and is always a hit with the fantastic items up for raffle. Attendees to the annual meeting will also be able to walk away with numerous discount coupons offered up by the businesses.

The winners for the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year have been selected and will be announced at the annual meeting. Also new to the annual meeting this year is the Green Business Leadership Award. We were amazed at the processes in place at these businesses where they are taking steps to leave a minimal carbon footprint on our community and the environment.

An evening of entertainment is planned, beginning with the silent auction, a cash bar and networking time.

The theme of the event is a birthday party, being that it is the 35th anniversary of the Pagosa Springs Chamber. Every table will be decorated in a different motif, and businesses are encouraged to participate by purchasing a table and even decorating the table.

Prizes will be given for the best decorated table. The tables will seat a party of eight. We have two groups currently that will be decorating their own table and vying for prizes. Want to join the competition?

The evening continues with an aged prime rib buffet dinner complete with all the accoutrements. Dessert will include not only a birthday cake, but also tasty pies that Danny and Carol Schofield are famous for.

After the awards and some exciting announcements of what the Chamber will unfold in 2011, the evening continues with music and dancing to the live sounds of Groove Kitchen.

We are looking forward to seeing people out for an evening of fun and to inform the public of our plans for 2011. It looks to be a busy year for the Chamber and we want to share our plans with the membership. Tickets are on sale at the Chamber and cash, check or credit cards can be used to purchase your tickets. You may also purchase your tickets over the phone.

We are very appreciative of all the donations that have come into the Chamber so far for this evening. Donations and discount coupons are due at the Chamber by Wednesday, Jan. 19. Questions can be directed to Mary Jo or Kimberley at the Chamber, 264-2360.

We would also like to remind the membership that voting for three of six candidates for the Chamber Board of Directors is ongoing. This year the slate of candidates includes: Pam Barsanti, with Jim Smith Realty; Jennifer Burck with Wind Wranglers Balloon Company; Mark Monaco with Liberty Theatre; Bob Moomaw — Friend of the Chamber; Todd Stevens with the Alley House Grille and Farrago Market Café; and Aurora Wright with Mud Shaver Car Wash.

These candidates represent small and large companies, home-based businesses, and various sectors in our business community. Please read the candidates’ bios available at the Chamber.

Calling all photographers

The Chamber will be announcing several projects for 2011 at the annual meeting. Several of these projects will be promoting Pagosa and we need some great shots of our community and area. Pictures can include events, action, outdoor adventure and nature.

The photos chosen will only be used for the promotion of our community and not shared with any “for profit” entity. If a private entity requests a copy of the photo, we will direct them to the photographer. Photographer credit will be given and, should your pictures be chosen, a short bio will be requested. After the annual meeting we will be able to announce these projects, but we’re saving the initial announcement for the annual meeting.

We will need the photos digitally in a high resolution format so that they don’t reproduce “grainy” (depending on the project we are working with). You may submit as many photos as you would like. Photos are due by Friday, Jan. 28.

We look forward to showing off some great aspects of Pagosa. We encourage event promoters to share shots of their festivals and outdoor enthusiasts to share their experiences that many people only read about. Photography questions may be directed to Mary Jo Coulehan at the Chamber.

Penguin Plungers growing in number

The number of wacky Penguin Plungers that have chosen to jump into the frigid San Juan River on Sunday, Feb. 20 continues to grow. In 2010, we had 13 people that floated over “the wave” and braved 34-degree waters. So far, there are already eight people that have committed to bracing the freezing waters, all for the purpose of raising funds for their favorite community group or non-profit organization.

Plungers will gather at the Chamber parking lot at noon on Feb. 20. Spectators will be directed to view the event from the Riverwalk. From this vantage point, viewers may also see the snow sculptings that were created on Saturday at the Snow Sculpting contest. Plungers will enter the river and float over the wave, where they will exit just below the hole.

If you are interested in plunging, sponsorship forms are available at the Chamber. The cost to enter the event is $25. A minimum of $50 also needs to be collected for your favorite organization. All funds and the registration form must be turned into the Chamber by Friday, Feb. 18. Sponsorship checks should be made out to the organization, not the plunger or the Chamber. We will verify the organization and the funds collected and distribute after the volunteer has successfully plunged.

If the Penguin Plunge is a little too hairy for you, registration forms are also available at the Chamber for the Anything Goes Sled Race and the Snow Sculpting contest. These events may be entered as an individual or group. Plan now to race your homemade sled down Reservoir Hill. All the WinterFest events are planned for the downtown area, so the public can enjoy visiting various events all day long. We will be issuing more information about the Nordic events in the weeks to come. Start creating and constructing for these upcoming WinterFest events. Tickets for the Rotary Follies on Saturday, Feb. 19 are on sale now at the Chamber. Tickets for Soup for the Soul, happening Thursday, Feb. 17 will be on sale soon.

Membership news

We have a plethora of renewals this week and one new business to welcome to the Chamber. Our new business is owned by Stacy Boone and is called Step Outdoors. Step Outdoors focuses on identifying your personal goals and pursuing those goals with individualized experience and a renowned enthusiasm. Gain confidence and feel safe being outdoors by learning safety precautions, navigation skills and “best practices” for hiking all types of terrain and in all weather conditions, learn more about wildlife and landscapes, and achieve your personal goals. For more information about setting up a personal or group hike for participants of all ages, call Stacy at 946-4806.

Our renewals this week include Lee Riley, Carl Nevitt and Big Sky Studio, and James Kahrs and the Kahrs Insurance Group. In the media arena, we have Media America, KSUT, Chama Courier newspaper and KZRM radio renewing. We also welcome Hart’s Rocky Mountain Retreat and Pagosa Skin Therapy.

Rounding out the renewals is Katy Deshler, a big community supporter and volunteer here at the Visitor Center.

Don’t forget to vote for the incoming Chamber board nominees and to get your tickets for the Annual Meeting. It will be a fun and eventful night out on the town!