Chemainus folks from various facets of life were united Saturday at the Sawmill Taphouse and Grill Event Venue.
Our Chemainus – A Celebration was billed as a showcase for the town as a great place to live, work and play. And, on a sunny day outside, the gathering of the community inside was something to behold.
The place was packed not only with 35 organizations, businesses and groups setting up booths, but also with a strong show of support from the public.
People even showed up before the doors opened at 10 a.m. and a steady stream continued throughout the venue for four hours.
“There was people there right to the end,” said Roy Summerhayes, second vice president of the Chemainus and District Chamber of Commerce, who spearheaded the project. “For the first one, I’m delighted.”
“I know the feedback from it was really, really good,” added the Chamber’s executive director Lori Frankson.
“It was a great opportunity to connect with people and let the locals know what we’re doing. There was a buzz pretty much all day long.”
People attending the event were given questionnaires to provide feedback, what they liked and what they thought could be improved upon for the next one. It’ll still take some time for the Chamber to go through all the sheets to arrive at any kind of consensus.
“A whole bunch already asked if they can be in next year’s,” noted Summerhayes.
Five or six asked at the show and another two or three voiced that request to him Monday morning.
“Commercial people like it and the community liked it,” said Summerhayes. “It went incredibly well from my side of the fence.”
There was a great cross-section of community organization booths, and businesses in town and outside town that have an interest in Chemainus.
Many people from the different groups had a chance for networking that might not have been possible otherwise without the gathering.
“It felt right and the layout was right,” Summerhayes conceded even after viewing the set-up the day before when it was done.
About the only constructive criticism heard was the loudness of the room. But that could also be construed as a positive because everyone in the room was constantly actively involved in conversation.
There was no cost for setting up a booth or for the public to attend.
There might be a space crunch next year if the demand from more exhibitors pans out.
“The biggest thing we heard is more people wanting to be a part of it,” said Frankson. “That’s a good thing.”