Thursday, March 29, 2012

Big Hat Days – 73 Years of Fun

By Fran Blackney 

Big Hat Days has been part of the Clovis Way of Life for more years than most of its residents have lived.  Started as a one day hat and shirt dress up event, it has become the largest festival in the Central Valley.

Its popularity is so well known that Festfan magazine proclaimed Clovis the Most Festive Town in 1994 – a moniker that has been well deserved and maintained.

The Clovis Rodeo, formally known as the Festival and Horse Show, has been presented on the last weekend in April since 1914.  During the entire month of April, the city got ready for the rodeo by dressing up in big hats and western wear. 

Finally, on March 25, 1939, one day was given a special name – Big Hat Day – and a tradition was created. The Clovis Chamber of Commerce became the organizer and presenter of the annual event.

On April 8, 1950, the event was announced as “Big Hat and Bright Shirt Day”.  Along with the big hats sporting the red or gold bands that were available at local stores, people were also encouraged to wear bright shirts, jeans, western boots and other cowboy apparel.

In 1953, the Clovis 20-30 club took over the Whiskerino contest, another popular feature of early Big Hat Days.  They had a “hoosegow” where clean shaven men were sent to raise money for the most impressive beard contest. 

In the late fifties, the tradition of presenting a ten gallon hat to the mayor was started. Today, the Grand Marshall of the Rodeo Parade receives the hat.

The city took its western wear duties seriously.  For many years, a temporary “jail” was set up where citizens who were dressed in attire that was not considered “western” would be sent.  Local shopkeepers appointed sheriffs, patrolled the Old Town streets to find fashion scofflaws.   The “jail” was part of the parade where people could view the “prisoners”.

During this time it wasn’t only the people who were dressed up in western wear.  Local businesses decorated their windows with boots and hats vying for a trophy presented by merchants Larry Sassano and Slim Beaver.

By 1983, the activities on the first weekend in April had died down.  The Clovis Chamber of Commerce then decided to take the event in a different direction.  That year, they presented a small festival and barbeque at the Rodeo Grounds.  The crowd was entertained by a live band and children enjoyed sack and wheelbarrow races.

Visitors packed the Rodeo Grounds, so, on the advice of the Clovis Police, the festival was moved to Pollasky Avenue in 1984 and the rest is history. In 1992, Big Hat Day became plural as it became a 2 day event.  From a festival of a dozen craft booths taking up one block, the event now encompasses 13 blocks and needs more.

Whether a one day event in 1939 or the largest two day festival in the Central Valley, Big Hat Days has become a permanent part of the culture of Clovis.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Cashing In With the Cash Mob

Three cheers for all the cash mobbers who came out to support the Clovis Grocery Outlet, there were well over 20 people who showed up at 1:30 to cash in. It was a great time for everyone! Thank you to all the staff and all the great Chamber folks who lent their support to this fun and innovative trend in local marketing. Upon arrival  we were greeted with smiles (leis & badges that showed our support), a "spin the wheel" for a prize and lots of great bargains just for the Cash Mob crowd. I was so proud to participate and made it an adventure with my young daughter into a new local store. The deals were awesome and so was the coffee samples and yummy cream puffs in the produce aisle. It was really a learning experience. As most, I do my grocery shopping at the big chain stores and had no idea that just around the corner was a venue that could save me real money on groceries I buy on a regular basis. For example, I was happy to pay $2.99 (at the warehouse store across the street) for a loaf of “Iron Kids” bread on my last shopping trip. But when I saw it at The Clovis Grocery Outlet for $.99 I was shocked. And I got a huge chunk of Sorrento mozzerella cheese for $1.99 when I pay at least $4.99 (on sale) elsewhere. All in all, my savings added up to $32.00 on a bill of only $34.08. So I had to ask myself, why haven’t I checked out this place before? It’s centrally located at the NW corner of Clovis Ave and Shaw and more important it’s owned and operated by a local business person just like you and me. So I tell you all visit the Clovis Grocery Outlet there are deals to be had every day of the year…AND don’t miss the next Clovis Cash Mob event it’s loads of fun and really makes a difference in our community. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mixing it up with the "Big Hats"

Whoa Clovis! Last night’s “Big Hat Day’s” mixer was awesome! If you missed it here is the low down. But first in keeping with the theme of membership benefits I’d like to point out that another great take away from your membership is the opportunity to take part in the great traditions that are the foundation for the Clovis Way of Life and even better you can make your own traditions to run side by side with the community. For example, among last night’s many super cool “Big Hats” was a sparkling and top heavy display from the Educational Employees Credit Union worn proudly by Amber Crowder the Assistant Manager for the Old Town Clovis branch.  It was a crowd favorite and tied for grand champion with the high tech creative production from Ted Ruiz at Ad-Venture Video Productions. What is special about Ms. Crowder’s entry is the tradition her business family has built around this event. Each year the employees at EECU design a “Big Hat” entry and keep it hidden from the manager who will be proudly representing the EECU. On the night of the event it is unveiled and  I’m guessing this year Amber was all smiles when her sparkling rainbow and mile high headress was revealed. Now you tell me is that a cool tradition or what? (that is your invitation to comment). In total, there were 11 official entries and everyone went home a winner. Not only did Beth Bridges have great prizes for everyone, all the attention from fellow guests was great “free” promotion of their businesses. So here is a bit more “free” promo for the creative and brave souls who made this traditional event memorable.
  •  Snowflake Designs – World Famous (thanks to CNN) leotards
  •    Ad-Venture Video Productions
  •   Facelogic Spa
  • Crumb Snatcher Goodies – with and without nuts
  •  Educational Employees Credit Union
  •  Mary Kay Cosmetics 
  • Institute of Technology – New grads available for recruitment if your hiring
  • Wine Shop at Home 
  • Hungry Bear Cookies
  • Terra Biotech 
  • Neighbors Financial Corporation
      Adding to the evenings success was live entertainment from “The Morgan Canyon Band”  and the awesome selection food was graciously provided by Sierra Vista Mall residents: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Charlie’s Grilled Sandwiches, Sweet River Bar & Grill, The Pretzel Place, Panera Bread, Hot dog on a Stick, Slices California Pizza and Hungry Bear Cookies. Thank you so much, the food was delicious! Also want to give a special mention the event’s hostess Geanie Silva, Marketing Director for Sierra Vista Mall. She says to all of you “Thank you to everyone for their support of Sierra Vista Mall, once again the event had a great turnout and they are happy to sponsor it every year”. 

Ted Ruiz - Ad-Venture Video Production
Amber Crowder & EECU Family 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

National “Cash Mob” Day, Saturday March 24th

National “Cash Mob” Day, Saturday March 24th

This new marketing trend is making a real difference and you can get involved by trading your cash for quality goods and services at the event's selected retailer. These events have proven to make a real difference for a small local businesses by building awareness and attracting new cutomers. Plus it's a fun way to shop and vote for local business with your dollars.

Join the Clovis Chamber and show your support for local business. This Saturday March 24th we will be "Cash Mobbing" the Clovis Grocery Outlet on the north west corner of Shaw and Clovis Ave. The event kicks off at 1:30 pm so grab a $20 and come get some great deals on groceries and household items you use every day.

Click the Facebook link above and share with your friends!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Not So Surprising Benefit

Traditionally, when we think of benefits we assume that we are going to receive something. Today I would like to re-focus your attention on a benefit that Chamber membership affords that isn’t “something” you receive rather it is something you give, your time. By sharing your attention and effort as a volunteer you will forge new relationships and reap that feel good warmth that comes with participating in any of  the Chamber volunteer opportunities that give back to the community and other members. A few years back I was fortunate to meet with management expert Ken Blanchard and when I asked for his sage advice he simply said “Always serve”. Those two words rang in my mind when I joined the Chamber and I’m writing today to spread that simple message. As you know, Big Hat Days is on the horizon and it is not only a wonderful fun-filled family event, it is an opportunity for you and your colleagues to give some of your time to the community at large. I’m sure many of you agree that it is better to give than receive. As cliché as that may sound, it is true. So I invite and encourage you to seek out a new volunteer opportunity that will support the community, the Chamber and your success!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Welcome to Clovis Chamber Connections

The Clovis Chamber of Commerce is all about connections;  to you, your business, the community and the world around us. Chamber Connection is our official blog and we invite you to follow us here. You can look forward to posts covering events and Chamber happenings, summaries of relevant articles and publications, reviews of products and services offered by Chamber members and lots of fun and interesting business news you can use. We hope you find it useful and look forward to your comments and participation in the discussions here.

At Your Service - The Clovis Chamber Connection

Welcome everyone and thank you for taking time to check out the latest social media avenue the Clovis Chamber is venturing down. Actually we are re-launching our blog to increase your opportunities to connect with us and with each other. You can look forward to 3 post every week that are aimed at keeping you up to date with Chamber happenings, informing you about all the great benefits that are available to members and sharing news and information about fellow members and the Clovis community. Your suggestions on topics to cover are welcome and needed.

My name is Kim Kaiser and I am a new Chamber member. I’ll be sharing a fresh point of view with you, as well as, managing posts submitted for inclusion here. I’d like to begin by saying that joining the Chamber is already proving to be a great opportunity for me as a microprenuer to grow my business by meeting other like minded people and having the chance to connect with you here. At last week’s new member orientation, Beth Bridges highlighted a long list of events and learning opportunities that are free or nearly free and designed to promote the success of members. 

I’d like to take this opportunity to re-introduce you to some of them. First, and arguably the most important, I met 8 connections and several Chamber Ambassadors who share a common interest. They all work for or own a local business and joined the Chamber for the same reason I did, not just to network but to connect. Those connections are what make Chamber participation the ultimate social network. Speaking of social networking, I learned that the Chamber also promotes your business by offering hands on training to get your business on Facebook and attracting followers in one short afternoon. Do you use Facebook to promote your business and communicate with your customers? If you don’t then a very small investment $20 for members and $40 for non-members and 2 hours of your time will get you ready to be “liked” by the many who support your business and appreciate your service or product. 

The list of benefits and events is a long one so check back later this week for more reminders about the membership benefits that are available to increase your companies success.

And if it's been awhile since you've attended a Chamber function we encourage you to come out next week for what is one of the best events of the year the BIG HAT MIXER next Wednesday March 21st from 5p-7p hosted by Sierra Vista Mall in the Community Room.

Please look for and say hello to new fellow members.

  • David and Judy Spengeman from JKS Training
  • Jane Furney - New Manager for long time Chamber member Dartmouth Tower
  • Lori Ryan - the Credit Card Gal
  • Jordan Bane and Joe Cornaggia from Cohesive Marketing
  • Denny Viloria from Hinds Hospice Thrift Store
  • Carolina Hogg from the Boutique at Outlaw Printing
  • Kim Kaiser from Kimico Writing Services