Chamber Notes – Community backs Homespun Holidays

By Kellie Sites, president of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce

“Let’s bring back the tree lighting in City Square park ….”
After several years of hearing that, the Waconia Chamber decided to do just that. But there was a necessary element that we knew we needed, fire.
So, with approval from our City Council, and some rock star volunteers, Bill Sites, Jean Carrier, Ryan and Jared Hammer and Mike Melchert, we had fire. Next we needed singers … Marlene Rolf and the choir from Trinity Lutheran Church stepped up and said, “we’ll do that!” Then Jeff Lenzmeier from St. Joe’s Church and School said, “we’ll provide cocoa!”
All those folks and their volunteers provided the elements we needed to have a tree lighting again. Craig Eldred of Waconia Public Services with his team made sure there was a tree and lights in the park and he was there to make sure the magic happened right on time.
It was magical.  Then we had some special music from Austin and Matt Stole, Josh Goergen and Nick Ramm. They are so fun to listen to and we were lucky to have them again on Saturday live at Mocha Monkey.
“Wouldn’t it be pretty to have luminaries lining the streets?’” Well, yes … but how do we make that happen in a safe and pretty way?  Businesses bought 264 tea lights and I sent out an email to Tina Schmidt, Waconia Girl Scouts leader, asking her if the girl scouts would like to assemble luminaries. She said, “we’ll do that!” Awesome. Thank You Girl Scouts of Waconia!
That just left Saturday … our traditional caroling around town … who would do that? Aaron Olson and the Waconia High School Chamber Choir said, YES! Lacey Kruse from St. Joe’s said Yes! Mary Sjodin, owner of Green Olive Deli and Catering provided cookies and Jon Schmidt from Mocha Monkey provided hot beverages for the over 50 carolers we had on Saturday. THANK YOU VOLUNTEERS!
And thank you to everyone who came out on Thursday and Saturday. I met new friends from Massachusetts, Wisconsin and England, all of whom commented on how wonderful Waconia is. I have to agree!
Waconia is a town with unique shops that have extraordinary owners, manufacturers that provide jobs, a hometown grocer who cares about our community. Studies have shown that when a town does not have a local grocery store, people leave town to do all of their shopping. We have a city administration and elected officials that listen and work hard to keep a well run city for all of us.  Thanks to the Park & Rec department for the super fun candy cane hunt and pictures with Santa at the Fire Department!
For 50 years the Waconia Chamber of Commerce has been working hard for our business community. I hope you will make the effort to do business at Chamber member businesses.
Look for the member decal on the window, pick up a brochure, check on our website or ask the owner. These businesses make an investment in the Chamber and we work to make this a great place to live, work, shop and play.
Think about Chamber Bucks for your holiday gift giving! Call the Chamber office and we’ll have them ready for you: (952) 442-5812.  Thanks for shopping local and for coming out for the tree lighting!
See you around town, something new each Saturday before Christmas!