Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce
By Genee Haws-Kay
Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce (BBCC) always starts the year off with the offer of “that chilly dip into Birch Bay,” the Polar Bear Plunge on January 1.
A record number of participants, over 225, took the 22nd annual plunge in the first few hours of 2005. Some registrants opted for the $10 registration, which included the first time ever t-shirt for the event. Registrants come from all over Whatcom County, as well as other counties and states!
Also for the first time, Dixieland music was offered for those who wanted to hear the sounds of the 49th Parallel Jazz Band playing at the Blue Fish restaurant immediately following the plunge. Our friends at BP Cherry Point Refinery sponsored the jazz band and the afternoon melodious sounds were enjoyed by a full house.
This year has seen our membership climb to an all-time high of approximately 150. We continue to meet on the third Tuesday of each month at Stephani’s by the Bay restaurant at 11:30 a.m. to enjoy the speakers and fellowship. The chamber is watching the growth of the area with interest.
also have social and network gatherings on the last Tuesday
of each month at 5:31 p.m. The directors arranged for
this event for those members who are unable to attend
the luncheon meetings. This “5:31 Just
for Fun” gathering
has proved to be very beneficial for some members
who were able to network and come up with some successful
business intentions; exactly what this event is all about.
In April the chamber opened their official office and Visitor Information Center. Since the organization was founded in 1972, all chamber phone calls and information shared has gone through various business owners’ offices and/or homes. We are proud to have served over 2,500 on-site visitors, as well as sending over 35 information packets and numerous brochures to visitors from all over the United States and Canada. Prior to April, the Blaine VIC was kind enough to provide visitor packets, at our request.
June saw the return of the Can-Am Nationals car show to Birch Bay. The weather was wonderful and the crowd appreciative to see over 40 cars and entrants in back of Stephani’s restaurant.
The sandcastle contest on June 25, was popular again this year. Chaired by Cynthia Colinares, many families and spectators enjoyed all of the sand creations. Thanks to Century 21 Bay Properties and several Birch Bay business sponsors, Cynthia and her fine committee were able to award over $600 in cash awards as well as other fun prizes.
The third weekend in July is always reserved for the Discovery Days Arts & Crafts Festival as well as the parade. Because of development in the area we were concerned we might not have anywhere to hold the event, but the new owners at Birch Bay Home Park graciously allowed us to set up at the corner of Sea Links Drive and Birch Bay-Lynden Road.
Normally the weatherman cooperates and allows a lot of sunshine for the weekend, but this year it rained on our parade, however, according to several who attended the parade, “It was the best ever!” The rain dampened the spirits of some vendors at the arts and crafts show, but only for a little while! The sun eventually came out and made for a more pleasant gathering. “Steamboat Willie” performed on the second day of the festival and their mellow sounds were enjoyed by an enthusiastic crowd.
October brought our annual meeting dinner and a record crowd of diners. Stephani and her staff again offered wonderful food fare and many chamber businesses donated door prizes for a very enjoyable evening. Election of directors is customarily held during the evening.
We’ve been looking forward to the second annual Ring of Fire and Hope celebration on New Year’s Eve, around the beach at Birch Bay. Mike Kent brought this idea forward last year, and the effects of the flares and candles lighting the bay was outstanding, as well as a real crowd pleaser. This year Mike is sponsoring the event and the chamber is pleased to add another annual event to our calendar.
The Polar Bear committee has worked diligently on the New Year’s 23rd Annual Polar Bear Plunge. Fred Meyer Corporation and Hugh Brawford of Prudential Kelstrup Realtors sponsored Dixieland jazz again this year. Vivian Simonis and her committee expected to see a large crowd and designed a new t-shirt for the event.
As we bid adieu to the old year, we are happy to have accomplished many goals this year. It truly was, “Come alive in 2005!” Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful and prosperous 2006!