It's just good business

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By The Staff

A town is only as strong as its businesses, said Janine Detter, Los Alamos National Bank marketing director. During ChamberFest, the local entrepreneurs are recognized for their role in Los Alamos and the community is invited to help applaud their efforts.

This year, the festival for businesses will begin with an appreciation banquet for chamber members from 5-7 p.m. at Central Avenue Grill. Later that evening, the Continental Kids, a band that performs doo-op and 50s’ music, will take the stage at 7 p.m. at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue.

Additionally, there are some plans to host a dancing contest during the Gordons’ and Los Alamos Summer Concert show.

Saturday, businesses are encouraged to take the booths that will fill up the downtown area from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. In addition to providing information about the work businesses do throughout the year, many of the booths will feature activities, said Jeremy Varela, events and marketing coordinator for the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation.

For instance, Los Alamos National Bank, a major sponsor of the festival, will offer children a sand pile and toys.

Additionally, the chamber will hold a water balloon toss and a whip cream pie toss. While VaLynn Purvis, owner of Party to Go, will offer sack races and a tug of war game, the Los Alamos Historical Society will quiz community members on their knowledge of historic figures. Also, the county libraries will host a “book walk,” which award books and gift certificates as prizes.

Besides the fun in the downtown area, several business owners will welcome the public into their stores. Cookn’ In Style will host its annual sidewalk sale and cook up some bratwurst. Customers can get the first glimpse of a tie-dyed rose at Bella Cosa and Curves will offer free workouts and drawings for free memberships.

The Nomads will also serenade the crowds from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

This year, the theme of Chamberfest is the Rockin’ Fifties and in tribute to this era, its popular games such as jacks and yo-yos will be provided.

Also, cars from the 50s and 60s will be on displayed at 10 a.m. near the Post Office.

To add to the event, emergency response will allow children a chance to see the bomb robot in action. Food will also be available.

The whole point behind Chamberfest, Varela said, is “we want to give chamber members more visibility.”

Detter agreed. “I think it’s important to highlight the local businesses and Chamberfest is an opportunity for local businesses to have a chance to (do that).”

She added, “I think our community thrives on local businesses and our town is going to be successful because of the economy.”

Varela said the chamber recommends its members offer activities at their booths “for the community to come down and have a good time.”

Having a 50s theme also allows the older generation to take a trip down memory lane and exposes younger generations to what life was like during this period of time, he said.

Currently, more than 60 chamber members will be participating in Chamberfest.

“People can travel from booth to booth and just play,” said Kim Lazarus of B-Fit Chiropractic. Lazarus coordinated the day’s activities for the chamber, and is credited for the events’ record participation.

It will not just be the business community appearing in ChamberFest. Many organizations in the nonprofit community will be involved, too. Rotary and Big Brothers Big Sisters will participate, Casa Mesita will also be represented along with United Way of Northern New Mexico.

Also, Chamberfest is honoring another factor of the community, the environment. The first 2,000 visitors will receive re-usable bags, which were purchased by Los Alamos Medical Center.

The program, “Invest in Me,” is additionally sponsored by Suzie Havemann of Re/Max, the Reel Deal theater and the Chamber’s Community Matters program. LAMC is bringing the plans for the improvements itintends to make in the upcoming months.

Michelle Altherr of the Pajarito Environmental Education Center helped organize the bags’ production in an effort to kick the county’s habit of using non-reusable bags.

Whether it’s the businesses, nonprofits, music or food, everyone is welcome to join in on the fun, Detter said.