A few months ago it was overheard that people thought the Ripley County Chamber of Commerce had no interest in economic development, that we were just event planners. This simple statement made the Chamber Board of Directors stop and take a hard look at our focus, the events we currently host, and where our time and resources are being spent.
After numerous discussions the decision was made that the Chamber of Commerce would further evaluate each event and start to take a step back from a few of them. By doing so it would allow us more time and resources to focus on the economic development of our community. While it is true that events bring people into town, we need to have businesses to support the event and for people to shop at. We also need to have jobs to offer people so they can make money they will spend at these events and the businesses.
One event that the Chamber decided that we would take a step back from planning and hosting is the Labor Day Parade. The Labor Day Parade was previously hosted by the Women’s Business Professionals and when they disbanded the parade was then hosted by the Ripley County Homecoming Committee. When the Ripley County Homecoming Committee also disbanded, the Chamber picked up the event so it could continue for the community. To hand this event off to a new organization was not an easy decision for the board, but one that needed to be made.
The Labor Day Parade it is one of the easiest events to plan and host, and is also has little to no expense. A group could easily pick the event up and be successful with it right away. Also, unlike the 4th of July event that draws an estimated (2500) two thousand five hundred people from surrounding communities, the parade tends to attract only the local population and has minimal effect on the economic impact on the community.
The board president and chamber staff did approached several individuals who had previously showed an interest in the parade to ask if they would step in to help with the 2019 parade and then we would hand the 2020 parade off to them. Unfortunately, no one wanted to step up at that time. If an organization decides that they will take the event over the Chamber will be available to advise them in planning and organizing the event. The community and our members have made it clear that they would like the chamber to focus less on events and more on the economic development of our community.
If you anyone has any questions, concerns, or would like information on hosting the Labor Day Parade please contact the Ripley County Chamber of Commerce at 573-996-2212 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.