Check the calendar: just around the corner are back-to-school days, Labor Day with the Four Corners Folk Festival and the Ignacio Bike Week, leaves turning to their autumnal hues ... and ColorFest activities.
That means that both Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival and Bands, Brews, Etc. tickets are now on sale for the Sept. 7-9 festival. Tickets are available online and at the downtown Chamber office. Another fantastic year featuring a variety of wines, scrumptious food, award-winning brews, and hot air balloons will fill the weekend with food and fun.
The weekend kicks off Thursday, Sept. 6, with some wine dinners at a few restaurants around town. Last year’s wine dinner at Nello’s was sold out and hugely popular. If you have family or friends in town, this is a great way to show off one of our restaurants and get an early idea about some of the wines to be served on Friday. Restaurants will be announced soon.
On Friday, Sept. 7, the big tent goes up on the athletic field downtown and we’ll host the popular Passport to Pagosa Wine and Food Festival. Wines from around the world will be paired with foods from some of Pagosa’s best restaurants and caterers. This is a creative time for the restaurants as, oftentimes, this crowd is the guinea pig in a test of some new items that will be added to the restaurant menus. Attendees will receive food and drink tickets to the event, as well as a collectable wine glass and reusable plate — great for the backyard or boat. Bob Hemenger will provide this year’s evening entertainment. Tickets are $40 in advance.
On Saturday, the morning begins with the annual hot air balloon mass ascension in downtown Pagosa Springs. The photo opportunities are unparalleled, with a backdrop of mountains, hot springs and the river. At noon, bring your children to the second annual Kiddie Karaoke contest. Get the kids on stage and let them sing their hearts out with a huge array of songs to choose from. Beginning at 3 p.m., the Bands, Brews, Etc. blowout begins with microbrews from around the region. At this time, there will also be live music, wine to be purchased by the glass, delicious food from vendors and activities for the kids. The event will continue until about 7 p.m., when we wait for the balloons to glow — always a highly anticipated and photographed event.
On Sunday, the festivities end with another hot air balloon mass ascension, this time on the west side of town. Mass ascensions start at 7:30-8 a.m. and are a great way to start your day.
If you are interested in volunteering at any ColorFest activities, contact Stacy Kirby at 264-2360. Tickets are already being sold online, so don’t wait too long to get yours.
Facebook — the new buzz word and marketing avenue. Some of us have a personal page, but how do we use it to our business advantage? The Chamber will present two classes dealing with how to use Facebook. On Tuesday, Aug. 21, at noon, for our Business Bites class, we will have several successful business owners give examples of how they have used Facebook to enhance their business and reward their fans. Find out how you can increase your friend base and potentially generate more business. The cost to attend the short session is $7 for Chamber members and $10 for nonmembers and includes lunch. The class will be held at the Chamber of Commerce conference room.
On Thursday, Aug. 30, the Chamber will host a more extensive training class about social marketing. We will offer a three-hour course on how to set up a business Facebook page and how to integrate Facebook with your website and blog. Marcy Mitchell, owner of MTECH Internet Marketing, will be our facilitator, along with Stacy Couch from Growing Spaces. Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops. The course will be held at the Ross Aragon Community Center from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. and the cost is $25 for Chamber members and $30 for non-members. This includes the training and breakfast items and snacks.
Please R.S.V.P. for either session so we can make sure we have enough room and enough food ordered. For more information, or to reserve your space, contact the Chamber at 264-2360.
Don’t forget to sign up for a Maximizing Your Membership class. The next one will be held Monday, Aug. 27, at 11:30 a.m. at the Chamber conference room. Lunch is included at this free business session, which covers ways the Chamber can help your business and how you can take better advantage of your membership benefits. Call the Chamber to reserve a spot.
The next SunDowner Business After Hours will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Old Town Market. Chamber members and invited guests are welcome to attend. You should have received your e-vite this week. Look for it in your inbox or become a Facebook friend and get a reminder.
We have a plethora of renewing members this week, including Cabins at Hartland Ranch, Sportsman’s Campground and Mountain Cabins, Main St. Cottage, the Made in Colorado Shoppe, Summit Ski and Sport (celebrating their 25th anniversary), The Artist Within, Rio Grande Savings and Loan Association, Cornerstone Accounting, Renner’s Mini Storage, Subway East, the Cassio Group and Bugle’em Up Outfitting. Individual associates Gene and Joan Cortright round out the renewals.