This has been quite a year. We stayed busy here at the Chamber/VIC helping visitors find their way, businesses promote their wares, and the community promote their events. Some of the fun things the Chamber sponsored were the Customer Service Workshop, Coast Guard Appreciation Softball Game, Last Chance Salmon Derby (an event co-sponsored by the Quileute Tribe, City of Forks and the Chamber) and the 18th Annual Wine & Cheese “Hoh Down”. We had the honor of participating in a sunny Forks Old Fashioned 4th of July, the Stephenie Meyer Day celebration, the Fish n Brew and the Twinkle Lights Parade.
The Forks Logging & Mill Tour was very popular this summer and we welcomed back two “seasoned” log tour drivers, Jack Zaccardo and Randy Mesenbrink and two new ones aboard, Joe Seymour and Mike Wendell.
One of the challenges faced this year was the heavy snowfall we received in January. A tree fell on Marcia Bingham’s house and caused her and the Sol Duc River a huge headache. The river was actually closed when it was removed. That doesn’t happen every day! Mike Gurling left the Chamber in September (as a paid employee anyway) to pursue dreams of traveling with his new lady, Claire. Rianilee Belles, our longtime Sunday employee, relocated to a new city. Merry Parker shortened her hours at the Chamber to take on management of the Teen Center at night. And we welcomed the always smiling Whitney Flagg to our staff. Our summer person, Beth Turner was a great help to us. Susie Michels, our webmaster, worked diligently on the Chamber’s new website. Very loyal volunteers, Willard Morgan and Marcia Yanish are now joined by our new volunteer, Tisha Sliwinski. I have taken on Mike’s administrative duties and love every minute!
The Chamber saw businesses open and close. We welcomed new residents to town, and said goodbye to others. The dry summer put everyone on high fire alert (although it was good for tourism.) And with the start of the rain again, we were heartbroken, along with the rest of the community, when the IOOF Hall that housed Rainforest Arts Center burned down. The empty, burning Dazzled By Twilight store was a sad sight to behold, splashed across websites and newspapers.
From the perspective of the Forks Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center, it was a very good year. Our visitor numbers continued to stay strong, according to the VIC guest register. We were prepared for a slow-down this summer and much to our surprise, we had throngs of first-timers, repeat visitors, and those wishing to live here some day! We are continuing to hear from writers – travel, blog, magazine, you name it. They want us to reveal the magic that is Forks. Maybe they will be lucky enough to come here some day to find out for themselves.
We look forward to a very promising, interesting and busy 2013 and hope you do too!