The Pawling Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Decemberfest Tree Lighting event remains in doubt given the associated costs and diminishing financial support from the community. Each year this event brings hundreds of residents from our Village, Town, and neighboring communities to Pawling and is one of the most successful Chamber events of the year. This annual celebration, including decorations for the holiday season, has been 100% financed by the Pawling Chamber of Commerce through the past generous donations of community members and the Chamber’s fundraising efforts. Unlike many communities, the annual celebration receives no direct financial support from the Village or Town.
Following last December’s well attended (just under 500) event, the Chamber Executive Board wrote to Chamber members (local businesses and individuals) explaining the financial challenges associated with hosting this community tradition and seeking financial support through donations. Explaining the Chamber’s predicament, the letter stated, “…in an effort to reduce long-term costs (e.g. lighting, decorations) and maintain our ability to provide this important community event, the Chamber Executive Board decided to make the investment in LED lighting and wreaths/garland. While initially more expensive, it is expected that this investment will make the costs of tree lighting more manageable over the long term.”
As a result of the appeal, a total of $8,195 was collected for the 2016 event. However, the 2016 donations trailed those of 2015, and nearly 50% less than those of the previous year. Until the Chamber raises the money to complete payment on the investment in LED lighting and synthetic wreaths/garland ($6,573), it is unable to take on the annual expense of Tree Lighting and holiday decorations. Chamber Executive Board President, Peter Cris, said, “It would be fiscally irresponsible of the Chamber to commit to spending money without the prospect of being able to pay our bills or find some additional financial support for the event.”
A letter of appeal to support Tree Lighting for 2017 (Dec. 1st), is posted on the chamber’s website and is being mailed to chamber and non-chamber members of the Pawling community. The Pawling Chamber of Commerce is a tax-exempt not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting Pawling’s existing businesses and business development.
For further information or questions, contact the chamber’s office on Charles Colman Boulevard - 855-0500.