It’s official, 2022 has come and gone. And what a wild and crazy ride it was. While the chamber was able to catch a quick break for the last two weeks of December, we still packed a punch in the first half of the month. We kicked off Hometown Christmas with a great turnout for the Grand Illumination tree lighting, then Saturday saw some rain, but over all a great day to be out in the Town of Stuart shopping at the Mistletoe Market, enjoying the Bull Mountain Arts Pop Up, the library open house, the Fab Lab ornament making program, and the parade. We had a great time at the annual holiday open house, hosted by the ever-fabulous Reynolds Homestead on the 8th of December. The Dehart Park’s Festival of Lights was a rounding success, thanks to the community involvement of businesses, organizations, churches and individuals creating displays for the community to enjoy.
Being the end of the year, I would like to do a quick recap of some of the great events and programs that the Chamber of Commerce was able to host. Many of these events could not have been possible without the help of our great community partners.
Working with Tourism and SilverLining Design, we launched the Patrick County Magazine. This magazine shows what is the best about living and visiting Patrick County.
The chamber hosted our annual Spring Job Fair to assist our local businesses with finding employees. We also held our annual Chamber Soiree in May. While we did not present the chamber awards this year, we are revamping them for 2023.
Summer was a busy planning time as we pushed full steam into the fall and early winter with events such as the Patrick County Agricultural Fair, Apple Dumpling Festival and 5K event, Stuart Spooktacular, Small Business Saturday, the aforementioned Hometown Christmas and Dehart Festival of Lights. We also partnered with Reynolds Homestead to host the inaugural Breakfast with your Community Leaders event. We got planning and funding in place to start the launch of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. This book gifting program will help increase literacy throughout the county. And, in August, the chamber was lucky to receive the Southwest Virginia “partner in Tourism award” along with other Patrick County entities such as the Tourism department, Pickle & Ash restaurant, and Front Porch Fest winning awards as well.
As we now set new goals for 2023, I would like to introduce our theme for the year: re:Patrick, reinvest, recommit, redefine and rethink Patrick. We chose this theme due to the multiple economic announcements that happened in 2022 and where we should see the beginnings of those announcements take place this year.
The town is also in the middle of a community development planning grant that will lead to more development in the downtown area of Stuart. By reinvesting in ourselves and our communities, we can recommit to moving forward, thus redefine who we are and help us all to rethink how we live and work in Patrick County.
We have many events planned for the year — continuation of the magazine, business after hours, ribbon cuttings, job fair, breakfast with community leaders, community events, along with the new Tourism Summit with which we will be assisting the tourism department in March. The chamber membership drive will kick off this month, and I hope you will either continue or join us as we work toward a better Patrick County.
(Adcock is the executive director of the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce)
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