As it has been for the past 29 years, the month of October marks the end of a very busy, event-filled time for the Chamber. This past month we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the first Chamber of Com-merce in our county. October also marked the 30th anniversary of the Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce. We are very proud of the tradition and the accomplishments of the chamber and Aimee and I thank our Board of Directors for the opportunity to serve.
The Annual Covered Bridge Festival was another wonderful time to celebrate all that is Blount County. The week began with the Miss Covered Bridge Pageant held at Eris Horton Auditorium at Oneonta City School. Ms. Ellen Hardy, a student at Samford University, and a native of Anniston, was crowned Miss Covered Bridge for 2013. As we welcome Ellen to our community, we also bid a fond farewell to last years’ Miss Covered Bridge, Alyssa Boyd, who served as a great ambassador for our community.
The Children’s Center Pancake Breakfast at Lester Memorial was a fantastic success. The fellowship hall was just a wonderful place to be with everyone enjoying a great meal and having a great time with friends and neighbors. Congratulations to Center Director Jim Ed Clayton, his staff, the board, and all of the volunteers that made the morning a special time.
The Quilters Guild hosted another great quilt show at Palisades Park. The volunteers who work with CASA had their “Playhouse Project” ready for display along highway 75 in front of Lester Memorial. Tickets for their raffle are still available and don’t forget the auction for the playhouses coming up on Nov. 11.
The Festival also saw 110 vendors set up their displays in downtown Oneonta for the arts and crafts show. By far, the largest number of participants saw good crowds on a brisk fall day down on First Avenue. Thank you to everyone who came out at 5 a.m. to help with set-up.
Many thanks to Randy and Deborah Beason with the Neely Arts Center who graciously gave of their time and equipment to make the entertainment portion of the festival fantastic. They also did the chamber a great favor in lining up the artists to perform and it was a great day of music downtown. Many thanks to our 2012 Miss Covered Bridge for spending the day with us also.
The Crossroads Cruisers, as always, added so much to the Festival with their car show. Thank you Charles Morton and crew. The Oneonta Police Department, Street Department, and Fire Department were are ALL very instrumental in making the Festival happen, there is no way we could do it without you, THANK YOU!
The Covered Bridge Golf Classic is typically held during the same week as the Festival. This year however, we decided to hold the tournament a month early to try and ensure good weather for golf, and to encourage more participation before football season and hunting season kicked into full gear. It worked. This year’s tourney was held at Heritage Golf where the number of teams doubled from last year and the number of hole sponsors tripled. It was an absolutely gorgeous day on a beautiful course and we thank everyone who played a part in making the event a success.
A big, big thank you to The Blount Countian for the fantastic publicity given to the festival last week. We appreciate everything Rob Rice and his staff does for our community.
Aside from the Festival, the monthly Chamber Breakfast was held Oct. 31 and was sponsored by the Jimmie Hale Mission. Director Tony Cooper presented the program to an audience of around 100 and as he always does, did a wonderful job in his own dynamic way. Our thanks to Tony and his staff for their support of the chamber and we wish them continued success in their mission work.
The two completely renovated covered bridges were officially opened last month and congratulations to the Blount County Commission on this achievement. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Swann Bridge with Commission Chairman Chris Green and a host of officials and well-wishers in attendance. The Friends of The Covered Bridges are to be commended as well for all of their work and their support of these Blount County treasures. We look forward to the final phase of the project to be completed this month with the restoration of Horton Mill Bridge.
A group of visitors from Montgomery wasted little time in coming to visit the newly restored bridges. The British Motor Car Club of Montgomery brought 18 vintage automobiles to Blount County last week for the opportunity to drive through these historic bridges. The Chamber welcomed the group at Charlie B’s restaurant before making the tour. We look forward to their return next year as they are very excited about the upcoming completion of Horton Mill.
Coming up, Aimee and I want to remind everyone that the Blount County Christ-mas Parade will be on Tuesday, Dec. 4, beginning at 7 p.m. Entry forms are available online at www.blountoneontachamber.org or may be picked up at the Chamber office. Wishing you a wonderful upcoming Holiday Season.
Donny B. Ray
Executive Director Blount–Oneonta Chamber of Commerce