Hang on to your hats; May is a busy month

Jackie Lovejoy
Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce

Genius without education is like silver in the mine.
— Benjamin Franklin

While we have an events report, I’m providing you the inside scoop of what’s been happening at the chamber.

To say I’m thrilled with the community and our team is an understatement. I am blessed with fun hardworking partners who help us bring great programs and events to our members and the cities we serve.

Hang on to your hats. May is here and the spring winds are bringing in great events to “mine the silver” and take advantage of this month.

First off, even though you’ve heard it before, I have to brag, our Young Entrepreneurs Academy celebrated last month as they presented to the Investor Panel for seed money to launch their ventures or begin manufacturing. At the Arab American National Museum, all the genius was on display as each team of businesses were awarded start-up funds.

Thank you to our investors who could see the silver and gold in our students; thanks to our mentors who inspired and guided them along this journey. A special congratulations goes out to Detroit’s Creative Apparel for being chosen as the winners and representing our YEA! class at the regionals held in Rochester, N.Y., May 2. Wendy Fichter, our winners and their mothers are on their way to compete as I type this article, good luck representing our YEA! program and your stellar business idea and products.

Did you know the annual Mutt Strut brings 3,000 dog and cat lovers to Ford Field Park each year? May 10 the Friends For the Dearborn Animal Shelter’s annual pledge walk is filled with fun, flying Frisbee dog demos, and all sorts of activities for those walking or watching the dog parade.

There are expo tents with all sorts of pet friendly vendors, along with the Dearborn Farmers and Artisans market tent too, passing out dog cookies. If you are a business owner, or a dog or cat lover, check out the FFDAS website for this great event at www.dearbornmuttstrut.com. The event opens at 10 a.m., the walk kicks off at 11 a.m.

Lucky Lucy Valentine will be there, who shielded her band of lost dogs during the polar vortex. Come see this loveable mutt and cheer on the walkers.

May 8 the chamber is pleased to host a Michigan-themed luncheon at the Adoba Hotel with David Lorenz of Pure Michigan. Tickets are just $30; check out what tourism does for our town, how it impacts our economy, and what the future holds for our area.

One of our charges at the chamber is to help with any incoming tours and conventions, I’ve had quite the education myself. I’ve worked with groups such as the Detroit Chinese Business Association, the Michigan Chapter of the Society of Research Administrators, the Society for the History of Technology, and the International Karate Championships just to name a few.

The range of specialty and scope is large. All sorts of groups utilize our area as their meeting hub. These groups bring local and international attendance to our area, not to mention the 1.8 million visitors The Henry Ford attracts each year.

Did you know that the average convention of 300 attendees infuses between $150,000 and $500,000 into the local economy? Hooray for tourism! In our area we never know if the diner next to us is from around the corner, or around the world. How interesting and how cool.

Speaking of being able to mine silver, the Alberta Muirhead Teacher of the Year Awards will be held May 14 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, starting at 4 p.m. More than 500 attendees come each year to see their favorite and deserving teachers honored. Almost 1,000 nominations flood the chamber for our committee to review.

You may not realize the reach this program has beyond our borders; my dentist’s wife, the lovely Lila Sloan, was a past award winner. Reclining in Dr. Sloan’s chair it was amazing (though I couldn’t speak) to hear his wife had won our award, honoring our local school district teachers.

Come and see the excitement and recognition these hard working teachers deserve. The nominations are truly touching and memorable to say the least.

Lastly, please pray for good weather May 30; the seventh season and launch of our Dearborn Farmers and Artisans Market opens from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On good weather days last year, the Farmers Market brings between 800 and 900 attendees to the corner of Michigan and Mason, behind the historic Bryant Library.

After attending Farmers Market Boot Camp this past March, we have loads of fresh attractions and ideas in store for the season. Michigan’s main charge for farmers markets is to infuse urban areas with fresh food and foot traffic for our local businesses.

Stay tuned to our Facebook page for all the hints and teasers. Let me spill the beans a little, besides all the fantastic demonstrations, food trucks and the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting with Mayor John O’Reilly Jr., a fantastic six-piece jazz band will entertain us, along with the children’s tent, Pookey the Clown, and the popular game find the banana.

Double-Up Food Bucks will return in late June, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg of ideas in the works. Public Act 100 welcomes small wineries to all farmers markets in 2014 for tastings and selling. We are close to securing the first small bottlers to take advantage of this new law. No worries for the kids, these areas are sequestered and require identification.

Have a lovely weekend and Mother’s Day; compliment all the moms you see. That is the job that truly shapes our futures and mines the silver; someday your child may be taking care of me, so encourage education and good grades, and doing what they love as your child’s vocation. Enjoy the weather as it wrestles winter away finally.

Dearborn and Dearborn Heights have a lot in bloom for businesses and our community residents, come out and join the fun. Come to the buffet our community offers, and enjoy the fruits of our long winter
… mingle and partake.