Chamber & Visitors Center News



2021 Chamber Annual Dinner to be held October 28 at the Joseph Decuis Farm in Whitley County
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Joseph Decuis Farm – Whitley County
5:30 p.m. Social
6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:30 p.m. Program
The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the needs of businesses and non-profit organizations in Whitley County, will host their Annual Dinner on October 28, 2021, at the Joseph Decuis Farm in rural Whitley County. A social hour begins at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. The program will commence at 7:30 p.m.
The event will include an outdoor social on the scenic grounds of the Joseph Decuis Farm with hors d’ oeuvres and a cash bar, followed by a rustic dinner indoors featuring Waygu beef, salad, succotash and polenta and warm apple crisp with small batch, homemade ice cream.
During the program portion of the evening, Chamber members reaching significant milestones in 2020 and 2021 will be recognized.
“We believe it is important to recognize the impact our members have had on our community over the years,” said Jennifer Romano, executive director of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. “Our community’s businesses are the backbone of Whitley County – providing jobs, supporting countless causes and contributing to who we are. We are excited to recognize members who’ve reached these important milestones in meaningful way – some of whom are more than a century old.” If your member business or organization is celebrating a major milestone year this year (or last year), please notify us so that we can include you in the program.
Seating at the event is very limited. Tickets are $100 per person, $580 for a table of 6 and $1000 for a sponsored table of six with priority seating.
For additional information or to RSVP, contact Jennifer Romano at jennifer@whitleychamber.com or call (260) 248-8131 weekdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Thanks to our early sponsors…
City Automall & Fort Wayne Metals
All proceeds from the event support the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)6 non-profit member organization that serves as the advocate, a resource and champion for local businesses and non-profit organizations in Whitley County.

Chamber announces 2021 Lil’ Pumpkins on Parade events
Once again this year, the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center is presenting Lil’ Pumpkins on Parade trick or treating through the business district on October 29, 2021. We are also hoping other businesses and organizations will participate around the county as well. We can add you to the list!
GET ON THE LIST!
This year, we will posting lists of participating businesses and organization online. Please send us an email at jennifer@whitleychamber.com to be added to the list. Join us downtown OR we can send people to your location!
OUTDOOR BOOTHS & TRUNK OR TREATING!
A new feature we’re adding this year is an area for businesses and organizations to do TRUNK or TREAT stations in downtown Columbia City. If you know of a business or organization that might like to participate in that, please let me know. There is no cost to participate.
What: Lil’ Pumpkins on Parade (trick or treating through our business district)
When: Friday, October 29 from 3 to 6 p.m.
Where: Downtown Columbia City at businesses, non-profits and government entities. There is no cost to participate.
The Parade
A parade of costumes will begin at 6 p.m. on October 29 at the corner of Chauncey and Van Buren Streets and parade around the courthouse square sidewalk, weather permitting. Everyone is welcome to participate. Bring a lawn chair to watch the parade from the courthouse lawn.
Further Details:
Families are invited to dress up in costume and walk from location to location in downtown Columbia City. You can hand out candy, treats, stickers or have your own individual drawings, games or activities at your location. Enjoy this opportunity to welcome families to your space! Choose to do treats outdoors or indoors — your choice.
NOT LOCATED DOWNTOWN?
There are still other ways to participate! You can invite trick or treaters to your location anywhere in Whitley County. You can also reserve a space with the Chamber and set up a booth in downtown Columbia City to participate. OR….you can provide information about trick or treating at your location elsewhere in Whitley County.
BE SAFE!
We are urging participants to consider safe practices — including gloves, hand sanitizer, masks, etc.
CONFIRM YOUR PARTICIPATION!
Confirm your participation in an email to jennifer@whitleychamber.com
or call the office at (260) 248-8131 by 5 p.m.
BY FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2021.

Annual Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center Golf Outing is September 2

Dust off your golf clubs and grab your favorite polo shirt – it’s time to mark the calendar for the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center’s 2021 Golf Outing. Event sponsors include Morsches Builders Mart, Big G’s Sports Cafe and PHP.

The annual Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center Golf Outing is slated for Thursday, September 2, 2021, at Eagle Glen Golf Club in Columbia City. Lunch and registration begin at 11 a.m. with play beginning at 12 p.m.

Team registration includes play for four, cart, lunch and a hole sponsorship for $400. Individuals can enjoy lunch and play for $100. Cheats packages for the Florida Scramble style golf outing are $40 each. Sponsor a hole for $125, providing outstanding visibility for your business, organization or cause.

For information about sponsorship of the Chamber Golf Outing or to inquire about registration, call the Chamber office at 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com

All proceeds from the event support the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce, a 501(c)6 non-profit member organization that serves as the advocate, a resource and champion for local businesses and non-profit organizations in Whitley County.


Chamber’s Whitley County Outdoor EXPO is planned for May 21

The Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center has announced that the Whitley County Outdoor EXPO will be held Friday, May 21, 2021, from 6 to 9 p.m. in downtown Columbia City, providing a venue for residents to gather and businesses and organizations to be in the community spotlight.

Sponsors include Morsches Builders Mart as well as Teghtmeyer ACE Hardware, City Automall, Journey Fitness 333, Aumsbaugh Flooring and Easterseals Passages.

“We are looking forward to a festive atmosphere highlighting the best in local businesses and organizations,” said Jennifer Romano, executive director of the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center. “People have been cooped up for a long time now and we know that everyone is ready to get outside, see their friends and get involved in the community once again.”

Live music and entertainment is also planned for the event, as well as a classic car showcase.

“Traditionally, our EXPO has always been held in March, but we simply could not do that in 2020 or 2021,” Romano continued. “Last fall we had our first outdoor EXPO and had a lot of support from our members and the community saying it was something they enjoyed being outside and hoped we’d do again. So, going forward we are planning a spring and fall outdoor EXPO.”

Booth spaces for the spring EXPO event are currently available. For further information, contact the Chamber at (260) 248-8131 or email office@whitleychamber.com

Proceeds from the event will support the Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, a non-profit organization founded in 1919 to serve the needs of businesses and non-profit organizations in the community through advocacy, as a resource for information and a champion for community interests.


Chamber announces change of date for annual South Whitley Community Garage Sales

For 20 years, the South Whitley Community Garages Sales have been a tradition in South Whitley, bringing scores of visitors to town and providing an influx of cash to the town’s residents and businesses.

Traditionally, the event has been in late April, but now it’s time for a change.

“There have been numerous observations that the last weekend in April is either too cold or rainy, said Tribune-News editor Teresa Carrano. “With the cancellation of the event last year because of the pandemic, we figured it was time to take another look at the calendar for this year’s event.

This year’s garage sales will be Friday and Saturday, June 18 and 19, 2021.

“Within the past year especially, we received a lot of phone calls from residents and shoppers alike about changing the date for the garage sales,” said Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center executive director Jennifer Romano. “Usually, we see about one day rained out each year. With the amount of time and money invested in the event each year, wasted days aren’t helpful.”

The committee sent about considering options for a new date, and felt early summer would be ideal.

“While June isn’t going to work for absolutely everyone, we are optimistic that it will increase the likelihood for better weather, which is something everyone can appreciate,” Romano added.

Whitley County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center and the Tribune-News, co-sponsor and organize the garage sales each year.

Once again, there will be booth rentals available on Mulberry Street for $20 for one day or $25.

“We enjoy working with the Tribune-News each year to plan this event in South Whitley. There is a significant economic impact from this event each year. From the dollars spent at local businesses to the dollars spent at the garage sales themselves, visitors to the community are spending money that stays in the community and benefits the community,” Romano said.

The Chamber also is offering business sponsorships for the event for $100. To become a sponsor or to request a booth space registration, contact the Chamber at 260-248-8131 or email jennifer@whitleychamber.com.

“Anyone planning a garage sale is encouraged to advertise their location and items,” Carrano said. “This will be the 20th annual garage sale and a map filled with listings will help the many treasure-hunters know where to shop while they visit the town.”


Great ways to get involved in 2021…

We will be launching some new roundtable groups in 2020, aimed at helping members better network with other members, targeted educational opportunities and get the most out of their membership. Some of the new topic areas will include:

To be added to a mailing list about upcoming meetings for these groups, email office@whitleychamber.com. Please provide your name and an email address.


Got a great program idea?

We’re planning an exciting lineup of programs and events for Chamber members in 2021. Do you have a great program idea or a subject you’d like to know more about? Would you like to present a program for members in 2021?

Contact Jennifer at jennifer@whitleychamber.com to share your ideas!