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Upcoming events promoted at Rotary meeting

LANETT — Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ashley Crane was the guest speaker at Thursday’s noon hour meeting of the West Point Rotary Club, held in the River Room at the Lanett Hampton Inn & Suites.

She talked about some upcoming events, such as a Resource & Service Fair to be held between 4 and 8 p.m. EST on Thursday, Feb. 8 at Valley Community Center, St. Paddy’s Day on the River on Saturday, March 17 in the West Point River Park and a Business Expo and Luncheon to be held from 10:30 a.m. till 1:30 p.m. EST Friday, April 13 at Valley Community Center.

Crane described the Feb. 8th Resource and Service Fair as “a one-stop shop” to help people. Representatives of more than 30 different organizations will be there to let people know what kind of resources they offer.

Crane thanked Chambers County Superintendent Dr. Kelli Hodge for giving a big assist to the event by providing bus transportation. “There will be a bus leaving from Eastside Elementary School and one from Five Points School to get people there. The buses will be leaving at 5 p.m. Central time,” she explained.

Some of the organizations that have made commitments to be there are EAMC-Lanier Health Services, the Chambers County Health Department, Unity Wellness Center, and the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, just to name a few.

On March 15, the Chamber will be hosting a dinner to honor the local area’s education community. “We have more than a thousand people in Chambers County who help out in some way at our schools. That is ‘gi-normous!’ and we want to honor them,” Crane said. Jody Fuller will be speaking at the event.

Two days later, the Chamber will be hosting a St. Paddy’s Day on the river in downtown West Point. It will be going on at the River Park from 2 till 11 p.m. EST. All-day wrist bands will be $10 each and kids two years of age and younger will be admitted free.

From 2 to 6 p.m. there will be a kids’ zone with inflatables, face painting, a touch-a-truck event and plenty of games. For the adults, there will be arts and craft items for sale, food vendors and, of course, green beer to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day.

There will be deejay throughout the day and an evening concert featuring Blane Rudd at 6 p.m. He’ll be followed by Tim Dugger.

“We think it’s going to be a really fun day,” Crane said, “and we want to see a lot of people there.”

The Business Expo will give local businesses the chance to talk about what they do and the kinds of services they offer. It’s a follow up to a very successful event the Chamber hosted last year. Mack and Rita Story will be the luncheon speakers. Their topic will be “Change Happens,” and they will be offering advice on how business owners can lead their organizations through changing circumstances.

“In May, we will be having our second annual First Responders Breakfast,” Crane said. “We had a big turnout last year. It was great.”

“I feel that the Greater Valley Area is truly blessed, and it’s something we should be shouting from the rooftops,” she said.

In 2017, the GVACC added 36 new members and hosted 17 ribbon cuttings. It’s on pace to exceed that in 2018. “Since our fiscal year started on October 1st, we’ve added 33 new members,” Crane said. “We are ecstatic about businesses being more open minded toward us. I think we are moving in a positive direction.”