Upcoming events highlighted at chamber meeting

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
Mercer County Health Department administrator Carla Ewing spoke to the Aledo Area Chamber of Commerce about some health department changes, including the move to a new location. She also offered chamber members a tour of the Toothmobile.

Aledo Area Chamber of Commerce (AACC) members were out in droves on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009, for a picnic in the park. Aledo Central Park's picnic tables were nearly full as 47 members and guests enjoyed the fixings that Maggie Doodle Dogs prepared for lunch. It was a picture perfect summer day - not too hot, and plenty of sunshine.

Faye Eckhardt, first vice president, told the members that the chamber had a wonderful response for the upcoming Aledo Night at the Quad City River Bandits set for Sunday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. at Modern Woodman Park. She said that 13 businesses purchased package deals, amounting to 160 ticket sales and an additional 151 tickets were sold as general ticket sales. "That puts the ticket price at $5.50 instead of $8 apiece," she said.

She said that representatives of Quad City River Bandits will be stopping by to deliver tickets and visit each business on Thursday, Aug. 13.

As part of the package deal for tickets, participating businesses will be acknowledged on the video board and/or listed on the programs.

She said that as a special attraction, Rusty Ruggles, Mercer County District #404 band director, will be singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" during the seventh inning stretch.

She asked that all participating hand in their signup sheets and make the checks payable to AACC, so they can issue one check for Aledo Night from the chamber. The Quad City River Bandits will be playing against the Burlington Bees that evening.

Eckhardt also will be in charge of the winter AACC event -- Holly Days. She announced the first planning meeting for the event is at 5:15 p.m. on Sept in the board room at THE National Bank. "I need everybody's help," she said. "The first thing we will be looking at is the theme."

Chamber President Lance Meyers told chamber members about the upcoming annual YMCA golf outing from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Oakview Country Club. Call the YMCA at (309) 582-5101 to make reservations.

Darlene Johnson said she had received feedback from July's Rhubarb Festival. A total of 2,400 rhubarb pies were sold and non-profit organizations that held bake sales brought in $33,000 those two days. "We broke every record we had," she said.

Pam Meyers announced that Saturday, Aug. 22, at dusk, Cinema @ Central will be showing Madagascar. She also talked about Aledo's fall festival, Antique Days. The festival will include a Aledo volunteer firemen pancake breakfast, bake sales, antique sales, a Cinema @ Central showing of Remember the Titans, musical entertainment at the band shell, food, a horse shoe pitching tournament and Wall Bash 2009 at the Essley Noble Museum.

The museum will also be offering wheel making demonstrations in honor of the 50th anniversary of their building.

Additional activities for Antique Days are antique appraisals, guided historic walking tours in downtown Aledo, farmer's market, tractor and engine show, pioneer demonstrations, a Main Street Car Cruz and kids activities with old fashioned fun and games. For more information, see the Aledo Main Street web site: www.aledomainstreet.com. There will be antique booths set up on the Mercer County Courthouse lawn and anyone interested in bringing in items can find an application on the web site.

"This is a great family activity. Let's pray for no rain," said Meyers.

The Kiwanis will also be selling their pork chops that weekend.

Guests of AACC that afternoon were Eric Hutchins, the new program director at the YMCA; Roger Brannan, the new Mercer County Nursing Home administrator, Bill Bewley, a new bronze chamber member, who began his funeral home business in 2003 and has been in his current location since 2005; Steve Pearson and family, who are new chamber members. Pearson is owner of SPOTS. Steve Pearson Oil & Tires and has been in business at 210 SE 3rd St., since May of 2005 and Brian and Jackie Anseeuw, owners of The Big Red Barn outside New Windsor. They rent out their building, a 100-year-old hay barn, for large groups. The building holds up to 350 people. Brian said they are currently looking to expand with a winery and vineyard.