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Fair comes to town as Chamber turns 40
Chamber 40th pic 1
The Dawson County Chamber of Commerces 40th birthday coincided with a visit from Magic Midways summer carnival. The carnival is located at the North Georgia Premium Outlets on the Ga. 400 side near Ruby Tuesday. - photo by Allie Dean Dawson County News

The fair came to town last week, just in time for the celebration of the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce's 40th birthday.

In lieu of cake and a party, the chamber got to revel in the Super Carnival that arrived June 29 at North Georgia Premium Outlets.

Magic Midways is putting on the fair that includes both thrill and kiddie rides, games and concessions and runs until July 9.

The fair is a fitting way for the chamber to celebrate its June 28 birthday, as it promotes the prosperity of the Ga. 400 retail corridor, which the county heavily relies on and which the chamber has always sought to encourage.

Chamber President Christie Haynes, who also has a June 28 birthday, said that as the chamber has celebrated its 40th anniversary throughout the year, she has loved having the opportunity to learn more about the organization's history of serving businesses and the community.

Included in that history are the "founding fathers" of the chamber. When the articles of incorporation for the chamber were signed in 1977, the original members of the board of directors included prominent locals Dwight Gilleland, John Oxford, Jimmy Bruce, Don Gordon, Ralph Pirkle, Joe Arrendale, John Gardner, Gene Burnette, Billy Wallace, Russ Wallace, Frank Roberts, Jim Talton, Betty Jo Turner, Kenneth Turner, R.E.L. Shirley, Edna Goswick, Betty Ann Burnette, George David, Ray Watson and Bill Denman.

Many of the chamber's initial efforts to promote economic prosperity in the county still exist today.

"For example, since at least 1990, we have held a chamber luncheon on the second Thursday of every month," Haynes said. "In 1992, the chamber began sending a monthly newsletter called Dawson Chatter, which you now receive weekly as our Chamber Chatter e-newsletter. [And] earlier this year, we came together for our annual meeting and gala for the 26th time."

Along with continuing to honor its history, the chamber continues to innovate and discover new ways to grow businesses and foster prosperity in the community.

"Just like in our beginning years, much of the work that is accomplished by our chamber, happens through committee," Haynes said. "This year our committees are working to make the small changes that lead to fulfilling our mission."

The chamber recently has worked to promote the Amicalola Regional Farmer's Market, which is currently in its first year. The market is a partnership with the county extension office and runs from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. each Friday at the Tractor Supply on Hwy. 53.

The chamber also puts on the ‘Shine Pedalers Metric, which is now in its fifth year. The metric starts at 7:30 a.m. on July 29 at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame and participants cycle all over the county, enjoying the beautiful scenery and taking respite at local-business sponsored rest stops.

The chamber also holds an annual golf tournament and an annual chamber gala, as well as holding ribbon cuttings, business after hours, business seminars and providing many networking opportunities throughout the year.

Haynes said that the chamber will continue its mission to combat drug issues that affect every community and are a barrier to employment, develop strategies to continually increase visitor investment, promote literacy by encouraging the placement of little libraries across the community and continually seek ways to provide opportunities for member connection.

"Thank you to every person who have served as a board member, ambassador, partner, or volunteer over the years and to every business who has invested in membership and sponsorship," Haynes said. "We are very proud of our past and firmly believe that the best is yet to come."