Three vice presidents among tweaks to 2022 chamber plans

Crazy hat parade to make a comeback

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The Bellport Chamber of Commerce’s biggest change for 2022 will probably be the appointment of three vice presidents, said current vice president LuAnn Thompson.

“It’s a lot of work as president and it makes it easier to share the responsibilities rather than the one person; that’s why people burn out. Plus, we’re all volunteers,” said Thompson.

Thompson should know; she’s served three times as president.

“We will have a board meeting this week,” she said. “We were going to do a full installation this month but decided to hold off to February or March. But I’ll be one of the 2022 vice presidents.”

An effort to collaborate more with local nonprofits and other village organizations with their events, will also be on the agenda for the Bellport Chamber of Commerce for 2022, said outgoing Bellport Chamber president John Hannon.

“If we’re not directly working in conjunction with them, we’ll try to promote it,” said Hannon, specifically including Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society and South Bay Art Association. “For example, the Bellport Fire Department Car Show (its first year was 2019), we’ll promote it so it gets out there with a wider audience,” he said.

Thompson explained the promotion effort. “It’s on our website, and we also promote it through our chamber e-mail blast and also to our members, so if they want to join that event with the organization’s theme, they can. We support those events because it brings people into the area, so it’s a win-win.” 

Hannon said the chamber will also build on the annual events they currently host.

“For example, for Bellport Day, one of our main events on July 30, the previous Sunday on July 24 we’ll feature the South Bay Art Association’s Plein Air event down at the dock. Then the artists include their paintings and feature them on Bellport Day, where we do a contest and raffle them off. We did this last year and it was very well-received. This type of collaboration works really well and you also learn things.”

Getting people to shop local via a Discover Bellport thrust will be emphasized.

“We are going to bring back out Crazy Easter Hat Day and parade with a Shop Local event on April 16,” Hannon said. “We’re doing a number of Shop Local events; one will be the last Saturday in August, called The Last Lick. The focus is ‘here’s the last chance to capture the summer,’ including ice cream, eating out, attending the galleries. We’ll try to bring in performers. Bellport Day is a main event with music, and we’ll  bring back the Show Mobile event.” Other Shop Local days include May 28, before Memorial Day, before July 4 and also before Labor Day.

“Hopefully, we’ll ask business owners to set out a table to talk about their offerings,” he said. “But it depends on how COVID goes.”

A village that features a performing arts center like The Gateway, a bed-and-breakfast, and a marina, all walkable, is a pretty neat lure, along with great shops.

“We have a really great mix, whether it’s housewares, jewelry, books, cards—each store has something special,” said Thompson, who owns Bellport Arts & Framing Studio. “Plus, it’s a smaller footprint. That’s why I love to do things like Discover Bellport. I can’t tell you how many people come in and say, ‘I didn’t know this was here.’ That’s why we do these events.”

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