Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce, a mover and shaker

The MV Chamber of Commerce meets at 7 a.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month in the Information Center. The chamber orders breakfast from different Monte Vista restaurants each time to support local businesses. Sunflour Café provided breakfast this past Thursday. On Saturday, the chamber held its last trash pickup day for the season along Highway 160 near Manzanares Lane. They picked up seven large bags of trash. Clean-up of the chamber’s designated highway section will resume in the spring. 

MONTE VISTA— “If you’ve ever considered joining the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce, now is the time,” said chamber manager Jerry Apker during the board’s monthly meeting in mid-October.
From now through the end of 2019, the chamber is hosting or somehow involved in a dozen or so events that have been scheduled to provide entertainment for local residents and attract visitors to town. There’s the just-around-the-corner Halloween event, Moonlight Madness, Holiday Bazaar events, the upcoming Mountain Film Festival (new), ag conference, Monte Vista Crane Festival and Taste of the San Luis Valley. It’s this growing number of events and folks relocating to Monte Vista that have been prompting some 2,000 calls a month to the chamber’s information center.  
Advantages for chamber members include marketing on its Facebook page and website, which receives more than 12,000 hits a year and inclusion in the information packets it sends out to new residents. “Member businesses are first on the list of recommendations when someone calls and they’re included in our relocation packets,” said board member Ken Hamko.
The chamber promotes one business each month on its website and Facebook page, and members also have access to the chamber’s bulk mailing permit as well as a list of 800 members for marketing purposes. “We’re also actively working with the Del Norte and South Fork chambers to develop a social media marketing campaign to promote tourism and outdoor recreation in the Upper Rio Grande,” Hamko said.  
The chamber also discussed growing the number of events booked in the information center, which is available for everything from birthdays and baby showers to business meetings and local group gatherings. “The cost is only $40 for half a day, which is dirt cheap,” Apker said. The chamber currently has about 150 bookings a year, and events can be booked by calling the chamber.
Apker presented to the chamber board a recently compiled index-promotion plan for upcoming events that outlines geographic regions, media outlets and funding amounts for marketing. Most of the marketing funds are being provided through the Rio Grande Tourism Board, which designates the money be used for advertising outside of the Valley as a way of attracting new visitors and tourism dollars to the area. “The chamber will come up with other funds to use for marketing with local media,” Apker said.
The Mountain Film Festival is Monte Vista’s newest event, Apker said and is slated for Jan. 24, 2019. Thereafter the chamber will shift the film festival to September so it doesn’t conflict with other film festivals. “It’s also a more appealing time of year for visitors and easier as far as travel.” The chamber hopes to hold September’s film festival at Movie Manor. “No other film fest offers films on a drive-in screen” Apker added, “which would give our festival a completely unique angle.”
The chamber also discussed an inquiry from someone about buying the Sugar Shack building next to the information center, as well as a donation to the Monte Vista Farmer’s Market to help with next year’s operating expenses. Farmer market manager Deanne Elliot said it’s her hope to grow the market to some 20 vendors for its seventh season, which would be almost double the number in the 2018 summer season.  The chamber will reconvene the donation discussion in March 2019.
Moonlight Madness is the most current event with which the chamber is involved. Maps of Monte Vista businesses participating in the trick-or-treat fun on Oct. 26 will be available at the information center as well as in the San Luis Valley Lifestyles as an insert. The movie “Hotel Transylvania 2” will be playing at the Vali 3 Theater on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m. A haunted house will be open on the second floor above the old video store next to Quincy’s Steakhouse on Adams Street on the evenings of Oct. 26 and 31.  
Here is a list of chamber-involved events; for more information, call 719-852-2731 or visit  
Veteran’s Day parade – Nov. 10
Holiday Bazaar – Nov. 30 & Dec. 1
Mountain Film Tour – Jan. 24, 2019
Southern Rocky Mountain Ag Conference & Trade Show – Feb. 5-7, 2019
Home, Garden and Outdoor Living Expo – March 1-3, 2019
Monte Vista Crane Festival – March 8-10, 2019
Hot Rod Dirt Drags - May 31, 2019
Thunder in the Valley Motorcycle Rally – June 15, 2019
A Taste of the San Luis Valley – June 29, 2019
Ski Hi Stampede – July 25-28, 2019
Potato Festival – Sept. 7, 2019

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