Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
This is the weather we’ve all been waiting on…finally here this week!! And not a moment too soon with kids out of school and summer activities kicking in full throttle. Speaking of summer activities, this weekend there will be plenty for everyone to enjoy. The first annual SummerFest begins at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning (flier here)…there will be live music on Main Street which runs all day until 6:00 in the evening. Being brought to you by the Chamber, Ottawa Recreation Commission, the Ottawa Library and Ottawa Main Street Association, the day will include frisbee golf tournaments, free swimming at the pool, games on Main Street to augment the live music, and a professional skate demonstration at the Teen Park…and, beginning at noon on Saturday, Main Street from Second to Third Streets will be closed to allow you to enjoy your favorite Not Lost Brewery beverage outside. Bring lawn chairs and enjoy vintage cars, music and good drink in the downtown…or just watch the activities.
 
Then…In the evening, beginning at 4:00, there is a seafood boil at Legacy Square…open to everyone. There is a cost to this activity, but all proceeds go to Neosho County Community College to benefit local scholarships.  At dusk (probably around 9:00), a free movie night with free popcorn is available for the whole family on the green space at Legacy Square (bring your lawn chairs and blankets). Disney won’t let us publish the name of the film in advance, but it’s about a young dragon who gains super powers as she strives to save humanity…my grandkids love this show.  I guarantee it is very enjoyable and entertaining!!
 
I haven’t begun to mention everything planned…there will be vintage cars on Main Street, kids’ games, the Ottawa Fire Truck – and with all this, what a great time to just browse the downtown Ottawa stores. Many will have SummerFest specials good just for this Saturday…if you look me up, I’ll have some Chamber Currency for you!! Let’s make this a “festive, beginning of Summer, survived COVID, time to party” CELEBRATION!!
 
Special Olympics:
 
The Special Olympics torch steamed into town and straight down Main Street on Wednesday of this week…pictures here. Led by state and local law enforcement and a Kalmar Truck the torch passed through Ottawa on it’s way to Wichita…in June each year, a torch begins at each corner of the state all four meet in Wichita to begin the games. Carried by Special Olympic athletes through towns, the flame is advanced by law enforcement volunteers between communities. The Kansas Special Olympics provides individuals with intellectual disabilities opportunities to thrive in sports, health and leadership…(you can learn more here). This very special organization/activity promoting inclusion, understanding and acceptance between individuals with and without intellectual disabilities. They do this by special programing, year-round training and competition. Locally, Kalmar Industries has long-been a supporter of the event annually. The flame arrived at the local industry on the north edge of Ottawa and they helped escort the torch through Ottawa…thanks to all who support this very important event. 
 
AdventHealth Ottawa Cancer Center:
 
 
AHO hosted and awesome Chamber event this morning…on a beautiful morning from the helicopter pad on the southwest corner of the grounds, we gathered to celebrate those who have survived cancer (pictures here). Approximately 50 attended the event which called attention to the Hematology Oncology Department at AHO. In collaboration with AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, AHO added oncology services this last April…we now have comprehensive outpatient cancer care here in Ottawa – including chemotherapy and infusions. Several gave testimonies regarding their survival and treatment…including myself. In 2010, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer…it is scary to hear the words, but modern medicine is wonderful. Also…several acknowledge how great it is to have AdventHealth here in town and what a great asset our local hospital is to the community. Thanks to Dallas Purkeypile, President/CEO for you and the leadership of your admin team!!   
 
Chamber Summer Intern:
 
Hadley Gibbons, a Baker University student began this week here in the Chamber as a summer intern (picture here)…it’s always good to have young blood around to keep our minds sharp. We have a couple projects for Hadley this summer…one is to merge our two major software programs so they are more seamless. We also have a Chamber phone app available…we will have Hadley work on member education to get the app downloaded. Once we have our software merged and people download the app, we will have the ability to send messages to members regarding Chamber events and community updates. It’s a big task…but he seems like an eager young man. Hadley will start being at Chamber events and we will get him introduced…I’m anxious for you to meet him.
 
Memorial Day Weekend:
 
I mentioned last week Memorial Day Weekend is the “unofficial/official” beginning of summer. Our family gathered for a reunion of my greater family…pictures here. We had 48 adults and 18 kids (all under the age of 8). 
 
Of course when the family comes home, it means a sleepover at grandma and grandpa’s house (pictures here). Tonight Cherry and I are taking all 9 grandkids to the Royals game…I’m sure the excursion will be good for a few pictures next week!
 
I really hope to see you downtown sometime this Saturday…it’s going to be festive!! 
 
Onward ~ John 
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000