Sunday, December 10, 2023

Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce charging "full steam ahead" into a year full of events

January and February are always a flurry of activity at the Chamber office. When most would assume the office is slow, we are busy plotting and planning the events and committees for the year to come. The last couple of years has included many "what ifs" but this year - dare I say it - the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce is charging full steam ahead.

We are looking forward to a full calendar of events, starting with the 13th Annual Bigfork Brewfest on March 5th. The last weekend of April will bring the yearly highway cleanup event, Clean Your 'Fork, followed by the celebration of restaurants, chefs, and musicians at Taste of Bigfork. As the playhouse raises the curtains on their 63rd season, we will be preparing for the 4th of July Parade, followed by the Bigfork Summer Rodeo.

As summer hits it’s stride, downtown will overflow with world-class artists during the Festival of the Arts on August 6th and 7th. The event calendar on will be filled with live music at various venues, along with the Riverbend Concert Series at Sliters Park. Growers and makers will peddle their wares at the Bigfork Village Market and Bigfork Farmers' Market throughout the season and the Chamber will wrap-up its summer lineup with Rumble in the Bay on September 4th.

As I said, 2022 is full steam ahead. Only the fate of the Montana Dragon Boat Festival hangs in question, dependent on restrictions at the Canadian border.

While the cherished Bigfork events are the bright and shiny part of the Chamber, there's considerably more happening behind the scenes. We are hard at work producing our annual visitors' guide. This year's focus will be on showing our guests how to "Leave No Trace," be "Bear Aware," and "Know Before You Go." Love it or hate it, tourist season is coming. It is the responsibility of all of us to practice and share the ‘recreate responsibly’ message.

The Student Ambassador committee will be connecting with high school students to bring awareness of board service and the Chamber's mission. To support our businesses, so desperate for employees, that committee will also be organizing our first-ever job fair. "Support Local Everything" shirts will again be given to public-facing workers, with a slight redesign to remind us all to be kind. Most importantly, the Chamber will continue to be a resource and advocate for our members.

The Chamber board has added a couple of new committees as well. We will be launching our Chamber Ambassador program in the coming months. This committee is an opportunity for individuals who want to be more involved to become champions of the Chamber. The Ambassadors will be responsible for welcoming new businesses to our community and organizing ribbon cuttings, among other things. The other new committee is taking a hard look at the very real possibility of a multi-use trail along a six-mile stretch of Highway 35. This trail would create safe connectivity between our residents, schools, and businesses. We were also lucky enough to get a one-year fellowship, and oh boy, are we going to need their help to get this all done!

If you would like to help, learn more about any of the events, or volunteer for any of the Chamber's committees, email us at