New displays arrived last week for the Festival of Lights at Monett's South Park. The annual Christmas light show will open on Nov. 24 and run through Dec. 26.
Chamber Executive Director Suzy McElmurry sais the Monett Electric Department will begin putting up the displays this week. Two additions have been added. The Lions Club has purchased a display with LED lights, considered to be "the ultimate" in color and brightness. A new lighted sign is also being added this year at the Highway 37 and 60 intersection, identifying the lighting exhibit with an arrow pointing toward the park entrance.
According to Chamber Board Member Keith McCracken, less than a dozen slots are still open for volunteers to help collect donations at the elf hunt from festival goers. Once a chore, elf hut duty has become a popular group effort among chamber members.
Kicking off the year-end events will be the Festival of Flavors on Nov. 11. The event moves to the First United Methodist Church's Family Life Center. Cindy Stephens, festival chairperson, said 22 vendors will provide dining options for guests.
Tickets for the Festival of Flavors are now available from chamber board members or at the chamber office at 200 E. Broadway. Verizon Wireless, sponsor of the festival, also has tickets at its Highway 60 office.
Moving the Christmas parade back to the second Saturday in December has already produced benefits. Leonard Witt, parade chairman, reported the Shriners will return for the Dec. 11 event. Witt said he has also contacted Santa Claus, who agreed to attend.
Several registrations for parade entries have already been received at the chamber office. Nov. 20 is the deadline for entering a float, band, marching unit or vehicle for judging.
Chamber Checks will be back for 2011. Information has been sent to chamber members to encourage them to accept the certificates just like cash for the year. McElmurry said the new checks will be ready by Nov. 20.
Anyone still holding old Chamber Checks is encouraged to spend them, McElmurry said. The 2010 certificates expire on Dec. 31.
With work progressing on the Main Street/Vision 2030 downtown revitalization effort, board members discussed visible work, especially the exterior improvements on Monett Gun and Pawn done by the company of Brandon Wallace and Steve Hilton.
A new business, the Depot Bar and Grill, is due to open shortly on Front Street, west of Third. Joining the chamber in the past month is a tire and auto repair shop, moving to Thirteenth Street from an old location in Billings.
McElmurry briefed board members on a new benefit for members. An agreement has been reached with Office Depot, wherein members can purchase supplies and receive a discount of 20 to 60 percent. In addition to savings, Office Depot has agreed to reimburse a percentage of every purchase made by members to the chamber. A 5 percent additional bonus will be offered to the Monett school district.
Members can go to the chamber's website and sign up to participate in the program.
"We've really been focusing on benefits and services to our members," McElmurry said. "The Office Depot agreement offers a way to benefit both the community and the chamber."
Details about last week's membership mingle, held at the chamber office meeting room, were also reviewed. Thirty-two attended the noon-hour gathering. With the Festival of Flavors coming in November, the next mingle was slated for Dec. 2.
License office changes
The license office will be changing its Friday schedule in November. McElmurry said extended hours on Thursdays have not brought more customers. On each of those occasions, however, a line of customers have been waiting to do business on Friday mornings. Therefore, Thursday hours will end at the same time as other days, and Fridays will open a half-hour earlier at 8:30 a.m.
A new hire has enabled the office to have two bi-lingual clerks. McElmurry said part-time employee Nora Ruiz has joined full-time staff member Adriana Salas.
Board members agreed to move the monthly meeting to Nov. 16. McElmurry reported she is due to attend a meeting in Jefferson City on the regular meeting date.