Madison County Chamber of Commerce Sponsoring the Newly-Designated Covered Bridges Scenic Byway
Madison County Chamber of Commerce
Elected leader for 2018
Jerry Parkin, Chairman
Professional staff leader of the Chamber
Heather Riley, Executive Director
Number of Members
What inspired you to first get involved with your Chamber?
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce offers exceptional opportunities for networking, visibility and referrals within the business community. The Chamber’s basic mission is to generate more business activity for the community. Our organization initiates more business-to-business commerce and more opportunities for networking and connecting with local professionals than any other Madison County organization.
What’s a signature offering of your Chamber?
We communicate weekly to the Membership through the Chamber Chat newsletter, which includes Member information, tips for business owners, details about Chamber-sponsored and community events and a platform to celebrate Members’ successes. Additionally, we gather each Friday morning at a different member business for Chamber Coffee events, which offer a quick networking opportunity before work, and opportunities for Member businesses to show off facilities, operations and staff. These events are well-attended by Chamber Members and are a great way to be engaged in the Chamber Membership.
What is your Chamber’s biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months?
The Madison County Chamber of Commerce is the official sponsor of the newly-designated Covered Bridges Scenic Byway, which is part of the Iowa Scenic Byways system through the Iowa Department of Transportation. Signs for the Covered Bridges Scenic Byway were installed this summer and they’re beautiful! A Covered Bridges Byways Commission has been formed to develop interpretive themes, which will guide visitors in their search for meanings in objects, places and landscapes. We will use the Covered Bridges Byway to tell Madison County’s stories in terms of our ties to American icons, our exceptional native limestone, the wealth of storytellers that have emerged from our community with unique places in American history and culture, and the lives of Madison County pioneers.
Marketing and promotional pieces are in currently in production and we’re excited about the opportunities this designation will create for our Madison County community!
Any initiative or project that you are looking forward to in 2018?
Plans are in place to begin construction on a replacement for Cedar Bridge in October of 2018. Local fundraising served as a match for a $278,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and this $720,000 project will hopefully be completed by October of 2019, in time for the 50th celebration of the Madison County Covered Bridge Festival.
What upcoming events should people watch for?
The 49th Annual Madison County Covered Bridge Festival will be October 13–14, 2018, and we will welcome thousands of visitors to our community to celebrate Madison County’s heritage, history and world-famous covered bridges. New this year is a celebration of former Winterset resident, George Washington Carver, and his influence on agriculture, art, history and the power of friendship, courage, tenacity and education. Festival favorites such as the quilt show, car show, parade, and spelling bee will be returning, as well as arts and crafts vendors, old-fashioned demonstrators, festival food, live entertainment, a chalk artist, and more!
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