If the determination and leadership of a few upstanding citizens in our community were not present to maintain pressure on the Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce to remind and clearly instill the message to them that this tradition must go on, I honestly do not feel as if it would have. In fact, a few professional sources recently told me that if it was not for the momentum that was in place to keep the event operating this year, there were plans to cancel it. If this news truly is accurate, I find this to be inexcusable.
On another note, I enthusiastically want to give recognition to those who were
helpful getting things done. Juliene Flanders, the City of Patterson’s new recreation director, guided and assisted the current Chamber of Commerce board through the administrative process every step of the way to ensure its timely and proper implementation. Additionally, I would like to recognize the volunteers of the Soroptimist International who clearly demonstrated pride and ownership in the annual Christmas time treat, as well as all of the volunteers and city staff that allowed the event to exist this year. I know the community appreciated it very much as they do every year and I want to thank everyone for their effort and hard work.
The Patterson-Westley Chamber of Commerce has always had a positive presence in Patterson by developing and maintaining a professional environment of growth and success for the business community as well as promoting community-based events. With the departure and absence of a few key board members in the Chamber of Commerce that took place this earlier year though, it is very likely that the organization underestimated the amount of work and preparation that is required to get events off the ground and operating seamlessly.
I understand that every organization goes through internal re-structuring and adaptations, but I find it disheartening that this event almost slipped through the community’s fingers. I also find it improper that citizens of the community had to demand and ensure that the Christmas time tradition continued. If they had not, the event would have been cancelled abruptly like the Lobster Fest was earlier this year.
Events, either large or small, cannot be realized or come to light if they are not planned for well in advance. Successful implementation of events also cannot get off the ground if the interest or passion is not there. The Apricot Fiesta Board is an example of an extraordinary collaboration of dedicated individuals who clearly recognize the myriad of tasks and the amount of time and effort it takes to put on an event, and they plan accordingly. I hope the leadership and vision that they exhibit can be emulated by others in the planning of Patterson’s future festivities.
As a life-long Patterson resident and a City Councilmember who appreciates productive input from concerned citizens, I clearly recognize a need to establish some systematic guidelines and create a necessary administrative safety net to prevent potential mishaps in event planning. Am I suggesting that the City completely take over the “Santa Comes To Town” event? Absolutely not! Instead, I would like the City of Patterson to become the lead partner to organize the “Santa Comes To Town” event in the future to ensure that important traditions that showcase excitement, professional partnerships, holiday spirit as well as community vibrancy can continue and not fall into potential and unnecessary abandonment.
Patterson resident, City councilman