Kiwanis Citrus Festival, revitalized Chamber topics for GMSP

July 06, 2007
Santa Paula News

The 40th Annual Kiwanis Citrus Festival and the new direction taken by the Chamber were on the menu at the June Good Morning Santa Paula!

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe 40th Annual Kiwanis Citrus Festival and the new direction taken by the Chamber were on the menu at the June Good Morning Santa Paula! Jim McCoy/McCoy Automotive hosted the Chamber sponsored event held at The Grove.Kiwanis President Elect Ken Stock said that the July 20-22 Festival is promising to be the biggest and best ever and “you’re all invited to come and have a good time.”That could include placing the winning silent auction bid on the original acrylic painting used for this year’s festival which includes the Citrus Parade on July 21.Posters have been distributed throughout Ventura County and the event’s Website is the place to apply to be vendor, download the parade entry form and learn about the “great entertainment” that will be offered throughout the festival.Stock said that “nominal admission fees, $5 for adults and $1 for kids,” will be charged for the Harding Park based festival, which will also offer a chance to buy festival T-shirts, and decorative plaques among other items.“...that includes all the entertainment with a big dance floor,” as well as an array of free contests and activities for the whole family.Stock noted that this year the Downtown merchants will decorate the central business district with citrus-themed decorations and offer other festival promotions.Don Olivier said that the Kiwanis Club took over the festival since 1967: “I remember when we first started it was limited to local non-profits and churches...we built our own booths, put a lot of sweat and labor into that first festival. It’s been a lot of sweat and tears over the years” and with the city’s assistance the festival has grown to gigantic proportions.“City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz put a lot effort into it, we really appreciate Wally,” noted Olivier.
Chamber President/CEO John Blanchard said that while reviewing his notes he would probably rank a listing in Guinness’ World Records for his use of “amazing...” ranging from his joining the Chamber after meeting Board President Connie Tushla to the present board of directors.“They’re extraordinary volunteers, city leaders...Connie filed in a big gap in the leadership” and provided new energy and direction.Also “amazing” is the direction Santa Paula is headed, “really a crossroad, an incredible time as a city,” overcoming malaise and the “just drifting along” over past decades.Blanchard noted that “some say my generation is the cause of it, we left for college and didn’t come’s terrific to be back and rather mystical the way it happened” gradually with visits to his mother, Elizabeth Blanchard and attendance at Limoneira Co. board meetings.The Chamber “continues to be the voice of business, as always concentrating on member services and communication with our members” but now more written communication is being launched, the Website updated and expanded to tie in to other links.“Internet is the way to go, it’s happening” as is joining other organizations that would benefit Santa Paula businesses including the Regional Legislative Alliance.Blanchard’s recent attendance at a statewide chamber convention and access to the governor’s office offers the opportunity to “come back and immediately put things to work here” said Blanchard.Tushla has established many committees and “has charged the chair people to take big problems and break them down into little pieces” that can effectively tackled.Two priorities are “reinvigorating the economic vitality of the city” and more on the unusual side to become involved in issues that “affect the entire community.Tushla noted that the Santa Barbara Business Times found the appointment of Blanchard headline worthy and that the Chamber is utilizing more talented individuals to work with the Chamber.

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