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Calling all plungers, photographers, party goers

The temperatures are low enough to start freezing sections of our beautiful San Juan River. However, we still could use some snow in town.

With almost two months to go until our WinterFest activities on Feb. 18-20, we still have plenty of time to get our “playing fields” ready for all the events.

That means that participants need to also get ready for all the activities, whether it be obtaining sponsorships for the Penguin Plunge or designing and making your sled.

The newest event added to WinterFest is the Pagosa Penguin Plunge, where participants jump into the frigid river water and float over “the wave.” There’s no dipping your toes into the water or lowering yourself in; this is a full-body shock wave with the water temperature hovering at about 34 degrees! Participants in the Penguin Plunge are raising money for their favorite non-profit organizations. Plunge sponsorship pledge forms are now available at the Chamber of Commerce. The cost to enter the event is $25. Entry fees and sponsorship money collected must be turned into the Chamber by Friday, Feb. 18, for you to be able to plunge. The Penguin Plunge will take place Sunday, Feb. 20. In 2010, thousands of dollars were raised for organizations such as United Way, Victim’s Assistance, the Twelve Months of Christmas Chamber program, the Humane Society, Head Start, Seeds of Learning, the third grade class and relief organizations, among others.

Pick up your river plunge sponsorship form at the Chamber and have it back to us with your pledge money by Friday, Feb. 18. Plungers will receive some cool swag including a T-shirt with the river temperature printed on the shirt and soaking passes. Spectators will line up along the Riverwalk to watch the antics.

Also included in the WinterFest activities will be the Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race, which will be moved to the new sledding area on Reservoir Hill. Remember — sleds need to be homemade. Sleds that are store-bought and not modified will not be qualified.

We will also have the Snow Sculpting Contest on Saturday and that event will be moved to the Visitor Center area along the river so that people can get a great view of the creations during the Penguin Plunge the next day. You can enter the Snow Sculpting Contest as an individual or as a member of a group.

All of the events will have giveaways and cash prizes. Registration forms are now available at the Chamber.

Also, there will be Nordic ski races held on the WinterFest weekend. Hospice of Mercy’s Soup for the Soul will take place on Thursday night.

For more information about all the activities that will be happening Winterfest weekend, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 264-2360.

Calling all photographers

In preparation for several new projects that the Chamber will be spearheading in 2011, we need beautiful Pagosa pictures.

We know there are thousands of photos to be had about our community — of events and the natural beauty that surrounds us.

We need your photographs. You can be an amateur or professional photographer. All photographers will be given photo credit. The photos will be used only for promotion of Pagosa Springs, either through the Chamber or visitor websites, or direct promotion. Occasional requests from the county or economic development group will also be honored as they are promoting our community as well. All other inquiries will be directed to the photographer for photo release and compensation.

There are a few projects we would like to have new photographs for. We are especially looking for event and action shots from throughout the year. We are also looking for shots of the natural beauty that Pagosa is famous for. All photos must be submitted digitally at a high resolution, downloaded to a CD. All photos must be turned into the Chamber by Friday, Jan. 28. Photos will be judged in February and winners will be selected and announced.

Calling all party goers

The Chamber of Commerce annual meeting will be held Saturday, Jan. 22, at The Pagosa Lodge. To honor our 35th anniversary, a birthday party theme is planned.

The Pagosa Lodge is pulling out all the stops to make sure everyone has a great time. The evening kicks off with a silent auction. Fantastic items such as trips, advertising opportunities, services and goods have already been donated. Has your business submitted its item?

Another new feature for the annual meeting is that businesses will be able to have discount coupons available for participants, allowing them to redeem them during the slower months of the year. Businesses can set the discount to fit whatever time frame is desired. In this win-win scenario, annual meeting goers get a break sometime later in the year and the businesses can garner some extra revenue during the slower months of the year. With Valentines Day, birthdays, anniversarys and “cabin fever” setting in, it is a perfect time for businesses to try and stimulate some transactions. Donations and discount coupons for the annual meeting need to be turned in to the Chamber by Wednesday, Jan. 19. As an annual meeting attendee, you can walk away with lots of opportunities for potential savings.

A sumptuous prime rib dinner with all the accoutrements will be served that evening. New managers of the food services at The Lodge, Danny and Carol Schofield, are planning a fantastic buffet dinner, including their delicious pies for dessert. There will be a cash bar available. We will also have our awards ceremony for Citizen and Volunteer of the Year, the Pagosa Pride awards, and the new SOS award— the Green Business Leadership Award. Forms for all of these awards can be obtained at the Chamber of Commerce. All nomination forms need to be turned into the Chamber by Friday, Jan. 7. Please take these next couple of weeks to nominate a citizen or organization in our community that has made a difference in our lives.

Tickets are still $35 and are now available for purchase at the Chamber. Buy a table for your business or combine with friends and pick out your particular birthday theme. The evening will end with music and dancing to the sounds of Groove Kitchen. This is a rockin’ event you will not want to miss. This event will also be the last opportunity that you will have to vote for the incoming board of directors. Early voting is available at the Chamber — only one vote per business. We look forward to many business owners coming out to honor each other and our award winners. Stop by the Chamber, get your tickets now, and arrange for your auction item and discount coupons.

Membership

A reminder to all event producers and organizations: If you have upcoming events, enter them into the Chamber’s online calendar. Go to www.PagosaSpringschamber.com and click on the Events and Activities. The site will then prompt you to enter your event. Fill out the form and it will then hit a queue where we will review the information and post it on the calendar. We want to give locals and visitors as much information as possible. Please send us your information as soon as you know.

We have two new members to welcome aboard for the end of the year and several renewals.

We have an out-of-town member representing the Jicarilla Apache community in Dulce, N.M. The Apache Indigenous Defenders, Inc. (formerly Apache Indian Development, Inc.) focuses on initiatives geared toward improving the economic, social and quality of life for the community. If you are interested in joining a family of people who want to see respect, love, unity and faith restored to the human race, go online to find out more at apachedefenders@jicarilla.net.

Having taken a hiatus from the Chamber, Sonlight Christian Camp located north on Fourmile Road is back. This fantastic facility functions as a summer camp, a weekend retreat and a ski retreat. Sonlight has over 32 years of ministry and I have never seen a better group of young adults practice amazing hospitality skills. Call Winston or Mary at 264-4379 to see how they might be able to partner with your group.

Closing out the renewals for the year, we welcome back Bear Creek Saloon; Pagosa Glass with Matt and Stacia Aragon; and the Chamber’s only musical band, Leadfoot Ruthie, renews this week. Our nonprofit this week is the League of Women Voters with its president Mary Beth McCauley. Our Friend of the Chamber is Jerome (Jerry) Smith — always informed about what is going on in the community.

As we close out 2010, the staff at the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce is very excited about what we have planned for our business community in 2011. We have great plans for our technology upgrades, for more educational seminars for the businesses, and for better “member-to-member” interaction. We cannot be successful without the interaction of the businesses and, for their involvement, we are very grateful. During these tough times, the majority of businesses have stood by our efforts. We continue to strive to earn and keep your respect, knowing that we work for our community in many different ways. Thank you, Pagosa, for your support as we get ready to celebrate our 35th anniversary. While you’re planning those personal goals for 2011, think about a few business goals and ask how the Chamber can help you accomplish them. Happy New Year, Pagosa Springs.