After the sudden announcement on Monday, Aug. 16, of the closing of the downtown City Market, the Chamber of Commerce staff was in shock along with the rest of the Pagosa Springs community. Unfortunately, this corporate Kroger decision was done without any input from the community or any kind of brainstorming prior to the closing to see if we could make this store more viable. The downtown store was certainly going through some “neglect” issues. Should we have seen this closing coming?
We do not know the financial inner-workings of the downtown City Market that prompted this decision; however, if City Market is firm in their decision, and it appears that they are, then our community must face the reality of another large empty building. This space is also just on the periphery of our downtown district. The Chamber of Commerce is intent on working with other community organizations such as the town, county and CDC on filling this space and working with Kroger to minimize the impact of the empty space. We will also look to see how we can help with transportation issues of our senior population or those with minimal transportation.
City Market is one of Pagosa’s largest employers. We value the impact that they have on the community through employment and retail sales tax dollars. We don’t want this to be just a corporate decision about the future of the empty building or relocated employees, but a community decision on how we can turn this into a positive for our town. We tried to communicate some of these points in the letter that the Chamber Board of Directors sent to City Market last week after their regular monthly meeting.
If there is even the slightest chance that we can turn this decision around, then the Chamber will work hard to see what can be done. If there is no turning back, then all entities involved must work hard, fast and smartly to minimize the impact of a 15,000 square-foot section of empty space. In the face of adversity oftentimes comes the best ideas. Let us hope all parties involved can make this statement a reality.
Auction for the Animals
This is your last chance to get your tickets for the annual Humane Society Auction for the Animals to be held Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. at the community center. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the auction. This price includes a collectable glass, terrific food, wine or beer and the opportunity to bid on live and silent auction items, or participate in the Brown Bag Raffle. This festive event is always anticipated, as there are always great auction items. You can pick up your tickets at the Humane Society Thrift Store, the Chamber of Commerce or Mountain Home Sound and Security on the west side. For more information, contact the Humane Society at 264-5549.
Labor Day activities
Four Corners Folk Festival: There has been a lot of information disseminated about the annual Four Corners Folk Festival, with this year’s headliners being Ricky Skaggs and Sam Bush. FolkWest continues to upgrade and enhance the festival and what they bring to the community every year. This year, the late night stage will be brought down to the community center to encourage better movement in the downtown area. The late night stage will take place Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 9 p.m. The music begins on Friday afternoon of the Labor Day weekend at 2 p.m. You can pick up tickets online at www.folkwest.com, or downtown at the Chamber of Commerce or Moonlight Books.
Annual Sidewalk Sale: As the season begins to change, so does the merchandise in the stores. Merchants all over town will either display their wares for the first time or enhance their display tables as they return to the annual Sidewalk Sale. There will be great discounts offered by our merchants to encourage locals and visitors alike to pick up a unique item from one of Pagosa’s great retail stores. As the merchants gear up for the influx of winter merchandise, they are offering specials on the outgoing summer merchandise. Don’t miss this opportunity to pick up some excellent gifts.
Business ribbon cutting: On Thursday, Sept. 2, at 5:30 p.m. come out to an old favorite ... but an enhanced store with a new name. Confused? Come out to cut the ribbon at High Mountain Consignment and Gifts, formerly Slices of Nature located at 262 Pagosa St. Bonnie Nyre still has her fantastic gift items, but she will also be selling consignment items of all kinds. The ribbon cutting will be festive with food and beverages and Bonnie’s outstanding flair for hospitality. What a great way to kick off the Labor Day weekend!
SHY RABBIT Print National 2: After the overwhelming success of the juried exhibit, Print National 1, the decision was made to make this event an annual exhibit. It’s a good thing they did, too, because this year there were 505 submissions from 150 artists located throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. Juror Yuji Hiratsuka selected a total of 90 pieces for inclusion in this show representing 45 fine-art printmakers. The Print National 2 showing will have its kickoff artists’ reception on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 5-8 p.m. at their studio and gallery at 333 Bastille Drive.
If you have never been to the SHY RABBIT studio, you just have no idea of what you are missing! This fantastic space is a ceramic studio, a fine art gallery, and has two mixed-media workshops and also two exhibition spaces. The talent displayed there is amazing and the exhibits that SHY RABBIT continuously offers throughout the year are first-rate. Add this gallery on your list of places to visit when you have friends in town or when there is a new exhibit, even if you can’t make the opening night. The Print National 2 exhibit will continue until Oct. 17.
Fishing Seminar: Get the kids out and head over to the Buffalo Inn on N. Pagosa Boulevard for breakfast and some education on fly fishing, spinning and bait fishing on Saturday morning, Sept. 4, beginning at 8 a.m. Experts will be talking about lures, techniques, equipment and strategies to help you get the best out of your fishing experience. This is still a great time to get out and enjoy the lakes and streams in our area. For more information, call Gary Gray at 731-0739.
Realtor Tour of Homes: Also over the Labor Day weekend, the Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors will produce their first Tour of Homes. The tour will be held on Friday, Sept. 3, from 1 to 6 p.m. and on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Blue Realtor balloons will be flying at all the tour properties. You can pick up a map from the local realty offices. This association is working hard to stimulate sales in Pagosa. Join them in the fun.
Don’t forget to pick up your tickets for the Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival to be held on Friday, Sept. 10 from 6-9 p.m. Rain or shine, don’t worry, the event will be protected under the large tent at the athletic field in Town Park. The restaurants are planning their fabulous menus and the wines are being selected. We will have some wines this year from South Africa; there are some great chenin blancs from this region, as well as wines from some of the new vintners in Oregon and Washington. We had some delicious malbecs in the red wine category and enjoyed the Torrontes grapes in the white wine category last year. Come out and see what is hot in the wine industry this year. Tickets are available for $35 in advance at the Chamber of Commerce. This price includes a collectable glass and plate and some fantastic food, and wines or beer provided by Pagosa Brewery and sponsored by Citizens Bank.
On Saturday, Sept. 11, the Bands, Brews, Etc. Blowout will commence at noon and continue into the evening hours. At this time we have 12 microbreweries involved and several food vendors. For the entertainment competition we will have single artists, trios and bands competing for recording time and cash prizes. This is a fun family event as the children can enjoy the Kid’s Section with the bounce house, face painting, balloons and more. Admission to the event is $5 for persons 12 and older. If you would like to participate in the microbrewery tasting, the cost is an additional $15 and this also includes your collectable tasting glass. The Balloon Glow will also take place in the downtown park area at dusk, so this is a terrific time to bring the family out for a grand time in Town Park.
Don’t miss the mass balloon ascensions on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11-12, beginning at about 7:30 -8 a.m. The balloons will ascend from the downtown area on Saturday and the west side on Sunday. If you are interested in crewing, come to the launch sites on either day and we will try to hook you up with a pilot crew. You must be familiar with Pagosa streets and how to get around. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for great weather over the ColorFest weekend.
Mountain Chile Cha-Cha
The aroma of roasting green chile is wafting up from vendors located around town, so it must be time for the Mountain Chile Cha-Cha. On Saturday, Sept. 25, professionals and amateurs can compete for the award for the best green chile entry in the chile cook-off. Applications are available online at http://pagosaspringsdining.com/mtn_chile_chacha.html, or by contacting Jacque Aragon at 264-4237. If you are interested in being a vendor, you can also contact Jacque. There will be live musical entertainment in the afternoon. This is a free event with a ticket purchase if you would like to participate in the chile tasting.
Prior to the food portion of the Cha-Cha is the Mountain Chile Cha-Cha Run — the last in the Pagosa Peak Trail Race Series produced by GECKO. There will be 15-, 7- or 3-mile runs and a fun run for the kids. To register for the run, go to www.joingecko.org.
We have renewals to welcome back this week: High Country Lodge; Hummingbird Haven; Higher Grounds; Southwest Custom Builders; DIG Enterprises; Aviation Business Concepts; and The San Juan Conservation District.
For anyone interested in helping to bring an International cycling race to Pagosa Springs, (the Quizno’s Pro Challenge), don’t forget there is a meeting on Thursday evening, Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. at the community center. The race will take place in Colorado Aug. 22-28, 2011, and we are interested in being one of the host communities. It would involve a tremendous amount of coordination, but we believe that we can pull it off. The economic rewards would be fantastic. For more information, attend the public meeting or contact me at the Chamber at 264-2360.