September 23, 2014

Standish chamber seeks festival ideas, gears up for summer

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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STANDISH — Besides acting as an outlet for information and direction in a community, a chamber of commerce also seeks to boost tourism and promote an area and one way the Standish Area Chamber of Commerce is looking to promote Standish is to host a festival this summer.

But it needs some help.

According to Andrew Radatz, chamber president, the chamber wants to know what community members would like to see, in terms of a festival, in Standish.

“[The chamber] wants to know what environment would you like to see?” he said.

A couple of ideas Radatz says he’s heard the most buzz about include an antique automobile and/or tractor festival/swap meet and a “back to the 80’s festival”.

“Those are the two (ideas) I’ve had mentioned to me the most,” Radatz said.

The chamber is also looking for people in the community to volunteer a helping hand towards festivals and other ventures when they are established, as community involvement is crucial to chamber events, he says.

“Do you want to get involved and are you ready to volunteer?” Radatz asks, adding any event requires a great deal of manpower to be successful. “All [of the events] comes from he who lives here. … We (chamber) have funds available to use on the community. It’s all about what the citizens want to see happen.”

Another idea Radatz says is popular and seemingly feasible is to better utilize the lakeshore by building a pier, although, he says the project would require additional funding due to its size.

New festival not withstanding, the Standish Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors or co-sponsors many events in the community already and is in the process of making the city more attractive to passers-by, says Radatz. Currently, there aren’t any signs informing travelers of restaurants or other attractions, as you’d see at other exits on I-75, which he says may change in the near future.

“[We’re] working with MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation) to [install] signage off exit 188,” he said.

According to Radatz, the chamber works with the Arenac Heritage Route Authority to coordinate the annual Depot Days celebrations and hosts a car show each summer.

Each September, Radatz says the chamber also hosts a business expo.

“Sometimes a person is reluctant to go into a business they haven’t been to before,” he said. “The expo is open to the public and businesses have displays setup in one facility so people can come in and check out what they have to offer.”

Radatz says while the chamber has a lot of opportunities and uses to the commercial sector, it also has many features for the general public.

“Come in, check it out and buy Standish,” Radatz said. “We’re the glue that keeps it all together.”

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