Something for All Ages
Is anyone else looking forward to Harvest Festival 2019?
We're three weeks out from the 105th annual community celebration. The Chamber's special events committee has put together a fun lineup of All-American activities that run from Thursday evening, Sept. 19, through Sunday, Sept. 22. It's certainly going to be different this year with Ehmen Park back as the center of attention. I hope that has stirred some excitement.
The old standards take their traditional place in the event list: Dog-N-Jog on Thursday, parade on Saturday followed by lunch at the First United Methodist Church. And because it's been so popular the last couple of years, we're bringing back the Party in the Park from 5-7 pm on Friday. There's no school that day, so we're hoping to attract a bunch of kids and families to the park for games and food and fun. A new twist to Party in the Park is a couple of activities that are being hosted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in cooperation with the Gothenburg Early Childhood Learning Coalition. "Not a Box" and "Block Party" are designed to get kids using their imagination. GECLC has been collecting boxes and tubes of all shapes and sizes for kids to create with. If you're wanting to participate as a business or organization and you haven't been contacted yet, give Casey Madsen a call at Learning Adventures Child Care Center, 537-5194.
We're also bringing back some ever-popular activities from years past. Arts in the Park will fill Ehmen Park on Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm. There is already a long list of vendors of all kinds, and they are still coming in. There will be plenty to see, along with food, music and performances by Gymnastic West and Dance Centre students. We're also giving bed races a try again. This was hilarious fun back in the mid-2000's. This time around, we're supplying the beds to make it easier to get involved. We just need teams of three to make the beds and then push them the length of the block. Themes, fun team names and costumes are encouraged. We'll give prizes for the fastest finish and the Best of Show. Pick up registration forms at the Chamber or download them online.
The Lions Club will serve breakfast in the park on Sunday and the Harvest Festival car show will also return, filling Ehmen Park from 11 am to 3 pm. We're expecting 100 vehicles or more, so there's surely something of interest for everyone. We'll have food in the park and live music by Rascal Martinez from noon to 2 pm. Bring the family and your lawn chairs for the day.
In addition to the familiar activities, we've also added a few new ones. The Gothenburg MOPS group will serve breakfast burritos on wheels before the parade. They'll be peddling their wares up and down Lake Avenue as well as in the park. At 1 pm on Saturday, Stone Hearth Estates is hosting Golden Games in the park. This will be a variety of activities that older folks can participate in, but I'm sure they'll let people of any age join. There's no pre-registration, just show up and have a good time.
After the bed races, head down to 10th Street in front of the Sun Theatre. There will be a cornhole tournament to benefit the Gothenburg Legion Baseball program, a beer garden, food and music beginning at 4 pm. Cornhole is drawing a lot of interest. Get your registration forms at the Chamber office or the Sun Theatre.
And one more new activity is the YMCA co-ed softball tournament at the Four-Plext on Sunday afternoon. Get a group of friends or co-workers who may or may not be athletically inclined and make a day of it. There are plenty of laughs during slow-pitch softball and the more teams we have, the more fun it will be.
The Chamber of Commerce is the hub of information for Harvest Festival. If you've got a question or a suggestion (or even a complaint), give us a call at 537-3505.
See you in the park!
Click HERE to get more information on individual events or to download event registration forms.
We've all swept them, stomped them, sprayed them and swept them some more. The crickets are out by the millions right now and their sweet little cricket song isn't so sweet anymore.
The cricket invasion in Gothenburg isn't new. We've had these piles of crickets before. According to Darrel Giesenhagen from Reliable Pest Control Services, it's a cyclical thing. Cricket outbreaks, he said, are typically associated with a dry period followed by a fair amount of rain. (We've certainly had a "fair amount" of rain this year.) Rainy periods create increased vegetation, so crickets can grow very quickly. Darrel also said this year's weather has been such that there were multiple breeding periods for crickets, so there seems to be more.
And crickets are night creatures, he said. That's why you don't see quite as many moving around during the daylight hours. But holy smokes do we have gobs of them first thing in the morning! All up and down Lake Avenue and the businesses on the side streets, folks are out every workday morning sweeping critters to the curb or blowing them with a leaf blower.
Darrel says you can call his pest control service to spray the bugs. (He's a Chamber member!) That will surely mean you're sweeping dead ones instead of them jumping on your pants and shoes. Or you can wait it out. The weather will turn cooler at night soon and he said they'll be gone again for at least another year.
Did you know in the Far East and across many parts of Europe, it is considered very bad luck to kill a cricket, even by accident? Well I might as well have broken a thousand mirrors.
Crickets usually hatch in large numbers in August or early September, so apparently they're right on time. According to the Farmer's Almanac, early arrival of crickets means an early winter. I guess that means winter will appear right on time this year, whatever that is.
Just in case winter comes early, here are some more bits of folk wisdom I found:
20 Signs of A Hard Winter
You can look at it this way — I think we'd all rather sweep crickets than snow right now.
Are you Livin Out Loud?
This weekend, our city will grow to more than three times the normal population. The hotels are full, the campgrounds are full and soon, Gothenburg will be full too.
The board of directors for the Livin Out Loud organization has worked tirelessly to prepare for this year's Christian music festival. These folks from all walks of life bring together their talents and determination to
Besides booking the bands, renting the stage with sound and lighting equipment, organizing the vendors, distributing promotion materials and rounding up around 150 volunteers, the group threw a venue change into the mix. This year, the festival will be at Lake Helen rather than its previous spot next to the Four-Plex. Lake Helen is a beautiful place and allows more space for the performers, the vendors and the audience.
Whether you are familiar with the bands and their music or not, consider taking a walk to Lake Helen on Saturday evening simply to see this amazing event for yourself. Community members come together to
It's a perfect opportunity to put our All-America City on display.
HOW CAN WE HELP?
Most people want to know, like and trust those they do business with. Maybe you have heard how social media is a great way to make that happen. After all, posting to social media can bring out your business’ personality.
But some businesses have difficulty being themselves online or simply don’t have the time to dedicate to social media consistently. Luckily, social media isn’t the only way to put a more personable face on your business.
A Chamber membership can help businesses become more known, liked and trusted.
Help People Get to Know You
If you want people to do business with you, they must think about you. No matter what you sell or what service you provide, you won’t do any business if people don’t think about you when they’re in the market for what you offer.
Sure, there are moments of emotional purchasing fueled by driving by or walking past, but even in those circumstances of emotional purchases, the buyer needs to know what that business is selling to make an impulse buy.
Chamber membership helps businesses become more recognizable in a variety of ways:
Sometimes the community knows what you do but doesn’t know enough about you to trust you. In these cases, a chamber membership is invaluable. According to the Schapiro Study, “Chamber membership has consistent and powerful benefits for small business members — if consumers are aware that the small business is involved with its local chamber.”
In that study, they found that if respondents knew a small business was a member of its local chamber, the business saw a 49% increase in its consumer favorability rating (like), a 73% increase in consumer awareness (know), a 68% increase in its local reputation (trust), and an 80% increase in the likelihood that consumers will patronize the business in the future.
Chamber membership goes a long way to helping businesses develop a trustworthy reputation. Many people see chambers as business entities or similar to the Better Business Bureau. While neither is true, these individuals apply the same feelings of community membership and upstanding reputations to the chamber members as they would a good rating from the Better Business Bureau.
The chamber can also help people trust you when you choose to associate or sponsor a well-loved community/chamber event. For instance, when a business sponsors Beef, Wine & More and the participants have a great time eating and drinking and bidding on auction items, the reputation of the event spreads to the business as if it hosted the event itself. It improves the trust people have for you.
Become More Likable
Being a chamber member can also help you market the most trustworthy parts of your business. Here’s how we can help you amplify your message and become more likable.
Likability is probably one of the easiest parts of the “know, like and trust” formula for more sales but it is also the one most businesses feel awkward about. They often go about it through social media and their attempts to become more friendly come off as just being "salesy."
When that happens, it’s often because they haven’t attributed the same skills needed for an in-person conversation to social media. Just like in a face-to-face conversation, on social media you don’t want to:
The ease of becoming likable (or someone seeing you as likable, because of course you already are, right?) in person is that you can read your audience’s nonverbal queues. If you see them disengaging or uninterested, you can change the conversation back to something they’re interested in. You can tell if they’re enjoying themselves and adjust accordingly.
Getting more involved in the chamber can give you a lot of time to build on the likability factor. People must first know who you are to later be able to like you. Multiple chances to meet in events through the chamber can make networking easier and less awkward because you’re not playing to an unknown crowd. You learn a little bit more about them — and they about you — each time you meet.
Other ways the chamber helps members to improve the likability factor include:
If you want more business and are struggling with just how to do that, the issue may be that people don’t know you, don't trust you or don't know you well enough to like you.
Maybe you’ve been working on those things through social media, but connecting online can be difficult for some people. If you’re not getting the traction you’d like, consider how the chamber could help you become better known and trusted — and liked — in the community.
As another bonus, the chamber may be able to show you how to connect online as well. While social media may not currently be working for you, that doesn’t mean it won’t ever work. The chamber can help in many ways. The options might surprise you.
is the Executive Director of the Community Development Office, which encompasses the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and the Gothenburg Improvement Company.