Planning and prep for the fall holidays

Lovejoy_Jackie.jpgweb From the President’s Desk Jackie Lovejoy President, Dearborn Area Chamber of Commerce Quote of the month that has inspired me: “We have a choice: to plow new ground or let the weeds grow.” — 1959 Virginia Department of Agriculture brochure After the floods and rain and loss of power these last few weeks, we are having some spectacular fall weather in our corner of the world. I am finally motivated to start gardening again; this fall is really renewing me. I’ve always loved the fresh feeling that “back to school” brings about. I’ve pulled all my water-logged annuals, I’m pulling weeds, and the yard is perking up finally. All the planning and prep for the fall holidays, next spring’s garden and the next year of events the Chamber hosts has me pumped up and energized. Oct. 1 to 3, the Chamber staff will attend the Michigan Association of Chamber Professionals Convention. Muskegon is hosting this educational event for chamber ambassadors and professionals. We bid and won the hosting honors for October 2015 the MACP’s 50th anniversary. Some of this visit will be reconnaissance. Three hundred chamber professionals will descend on Dearborn next year, showcasing our great area. They will be able to recommend Dearborn to their members and residents based on their first-hand visit. I had the opportunity to visit and tour the almost completed John D. Dingell Transit Center in September, it is a stunning structure. I imagine many of these visitors will utilize the new train station to reach us next year, and it will “wow” them to say the least. The Chamber is in the final stages of launching a smart phone app “Destination Dearborn” to coincide with the grand opening. The “Eat, Stay, Play” format will showcase all businesses and points of interest for visitors in the area. This will be a useful tool for residents too. Longtime residents are still raving to me about the Taste of Dearborn; they didn’t realize the depth and breadth of restaurant choices that are local for us. Soon you will be able to load the app, and see what’s new in town or be reminded to visit your old favorite haunts. Speaking of haunts, there are only a few more weeks left of the farmers market and the pumpkins are here. Last week we exceeded 1,000 visitors for Art in the Market. Thanks to all who attended this festival, the artisans who turned out, and our regular vendors for making it a memorable day. Henry Ford College put on a great ice carving demo, Dorsey Culinary Arts was on hand offering tasty chicken to sample, and the new painting in my office is from the popular “Art and About” class we hosted. Our farmers market manager, Christina Werner is a whiz; I would like to extend a special thanks to her for all her ingenuity this year. This is a fabulous community arm of the chamber. Join us Oct. 17 for doughnuts, cider, ice carving and food, Harvest Day at the Market will be another banner day. The Young Entrepreneurs’ Academy is in full swing and accepting applications now for our second year. Scholarships are available, and in a mere 30 weeks students can become business owners. The thrill of the Investor Panel last year is still with me, watching the presentations and seeing the investors debate who would be funded was unbelievable. If you know a motivated student who may or may not have a business, pass this to them and send them to our website, www.dearbornareachamber.org, for the application; we begin building our next generation of business owners in late October. And in keeping with our theme of new growth and tourism, come and decipher clues and discover icons and art in downtown west Dearborn Oct 19. The Chamber is launching the Community Challenge 5K Scavenger Hunt. Bring a team, wear a costume, and race to the finish as you test your knowledge and locate our local hidden gems. We have cash prizes, family fun, and a great after party at bd.’s Mongolian Grill wrapping up the day. We launch at 2 p.m. at the clock tower in Muirhead Plaza outside the historic Bryant Library, 22100 Michigan Ave. Come and plow some new ground with us, and chuck those old weeds as we get another year planned and planted.