In an action that Quinn Swanson, of Happy Dancing Turtle, said was unprecedented, the Pine River Chamber of Commerce invited churches, businesses, community members and others from outside the chamber to attend its annual planning session Thursday, Jan. 10.
The meeting helped to reveal goals from chamber members and non-chamber members alike and prevent conflicting schedules. In the past, the meeting included input from chamber members only. Including non-members provided an opportunity for the chamber to plan around non-chamber events.
The event also functioned to get feedback from outside groups and to spread the word about both chamber events and non-chamber events.
Representatives from Thrifty Living and area businesses, Heritage Group North, Cass County Fair Board, Pine River United Methodist Church and the city contributed to discussion on upcoming and potential events.
Nancy Wood, of Thrifty Living, said that in the past, businesses have not always felt well informed of the chamber's plans, which may contribute to some organization issues. Wood said she and others on Barclay Avenue are brainstorming to organize events in town during Summerfest and Parade of Lights.
Members of Heritage Group North presented on many plans for the future. Alan Johnson said the group is:
• Planning for restoration to the caboose.
• Organizing an event called "Lost Pine River," modeled after the HGN Spurrier Hotel event.
• Working with AmeriCorps to restore the historic Pine Ridge Cemetery.
• Seeking a study on establishing a history center on a historic farmstead.
Terri Foster, of the Cass County Fair Board, outlined plans for the summer fair. Foster said Baja races, bull rides, senior citizens day and the talent show will return along with the midway rides.
New events were discussed during the meeting as well. Planning began for a possible March ballroom dance in the River Fitness classroom space. A small group formed to begin the process of bringing that event to life. Wood discussed possible activities to keep the city active between early morning events and evening fireworks during Parade of Lights.