New director lays out events for Valley Kiwanis

Published 3:39 pm Thursday, July 25, 2019

VALLEY — Carrie Royster, the newly named executive director of the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, was the guest speaker of the Kiwanis Club of Valley Wednesday.

Royster has been with the Chamber for the past five years and was promoted to her present position in June. She began as a secretary in 2014 and was promoted to marketing and events manager prior to becoming the executive director.

“Let’s not get carried away with the Carries,” joked club vice president Bethany Roughton as Royster was being introduced by club member Cary Baldwin.

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In previewing the coming year with the Chamber, Royster said a few events will take place before the new fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.

On Friday, July . 26, there is a breakfast scheduled at the Sunoco station, at the junction of Highway 50 and the LaFayette Bypass.

“Who’s ready for football?” Royster asked, leading into a Chamber event set for Friday, Aug. 9.

There will be a Back-to-School Tailgate outside the Chamber office, behind McDonald’s in Valley. It starts at 11 a.m. EDT and will go on for a couple of hours. Local high school football fans are invited to come out and enjoy lunch with local high school football coaches and members of their staffs. Sheriff Sid Lockhart will be there grilling hot dogs. Free pizza will be given away as well, along with free t-shirts.

“We hope to see you there,” Royster said.

Royster said that she’s looking forward to the chamber lending a helping hand at the annual Lanett City Film Festival on Aug. 16 and 17.

“I went last year and saw some really good works being produced by today’s up and coming film makers,” she said.

The final major event before the new fiscal years is the chamber’s annual membership dinner at 5:30 p.m. EDT on Sept. 19, at King Ford in Valley.

On Nov. 2, the chamber will help with the annual Fredonia Heritage Day, and Nov. 23, one of the chamber’s signature events — HolidayFest on the River — kicks off from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at West Point River Park.

“Holidayfest went great last year,” Royster said. “The weather was great, and we had a really good turnout. We had 50 vendors there.”

The chamber will have a shop local campaign during the Christmas season.

Royster said she’s excited about the coming year’s Junior Ambassador program.

“We have a total of 49 kids involved in it,” she said. “It should be a lot of fun next year. I’m looking forward to it. We will start meeting in August and continue meeting on a regular schedule until the following May. We have an outstanding group this year.”

Some of them will be partnering with the Hallmark Channel to build new Fuller Center homes in Beauregard.

“This will be a good experience for them,” Royster said. “I’m hoping they will learn that not everybody’s life is easy, that some people have to overcome setbacks.”

The Junior Ambassadors will have a chance to be CPR certified and to receive some instruction in self-defense, should they need to use it.

“We’d like to do something with Valley Haven,” she said. “It would be good if we can participate in the annual Fun Walk.”

Royster said the Chamber will be hosting some Lunch ‘N’ Learn style events in the new year.

“We’ll have Coffee and Catch Up (as opposed to ketchup) at local businesses such as Jammin’ Java in downtown West Point, Daylight Donuts in Lanett and Dunkin’ Donuts and Jack’s in Valley. The annual first responders appreciation breakfast will be taking place at Valley Community Center in May 2020.

The annual St. Paddy’s Day on the river will be taking place once again in March.

“I’m hoping we have better weather this year,” she said. “It was really cold last year.”