Friday, January 22, 2010

It Truly Was an Extravaganza

I don't have the pictures to prove it yet, I will be posting them on my face book page next week but we had a wonderful evening at Camp Hanes. There were 35 local businesses with booths at our event (2 companies shared booth space) and probably 30 more that were in attendance. The energy level was high, people were talking, laughing, eating and having a good time.

I was a nervous wreck around 2:30 when I started to see ice forming on the trees. Food for the event had been ordered for over a week and there wasn't a weather forecast anywhere that was calling for ice 24 hours prior to the event (it must be nice to have a job that you can be right 20% of the time and then just tell people what happened afterwords and still be working- like weather forecasters do but that is another story). To the credit of the good business people of Stokes County, every booth was set up, everyone was smiling and the show went on without a hitch.

I really expected a lot of people to show early and get home before bad weather closed in. People did show early but to my surprise, they stayed. There was a roaring fire in the dining hall, the mood was light and I thing everyone enjoyed themselves. Numerous folks made it a point of letting me know how happy they were to see a large cross section of people from all over our county at the event. And I agree.

We have our issues: we don't have a lot of industry, our infrastructure needs improving, we have a large portion of our population that commutes outside the county to work and we need more local shopping but we have huge assets that offset this. We have a strong work ethic that goes back to our farming heritage, we have wonderful natural resources, we have a strong tourism base and a vibrant business community. I think these can offset any problems we have if we work together.

What really drove home the point for me last night was how many people stayed beyond the 7:30 announced ending time of the event. It seemed they didn't want to leave. If we can find a way to translate this energy into action, I believe Stokes County will grow and thrive in the future. And that is why our event matched the billing of being a Business Extravaganza: No false advertising here!

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