It may be only June but Wetumpka Area Chamber of Commerce executive director Shellie Whitfield is already dreaming of Christmas.
Whitfield is planning with the city and Main Street Wetumpka to host a Charles Dickens-themed Christmas event in downtown the weekend before Christmas on the Coosa.
“We’re going to transform the entire downtown into a Dickens Christmas village,” Whitfield said. “We’re going to have everyone in full costume.”
The library will read Christmas tales to children and the Wetumpka Depot Players will perform “A Christmas Carol.”
“We’re going to ask the churches to perform on the courthouse steps next to the city Christmas tree so the entire downtown is going to be magical and our hope is that people will just all come together,” Whitfield said. “We’ll bring all the organizations together.”
Whitfield said the groups haven’t formed a committee yet but she’s already excited.
Whitfield started as the executive director of the chamber in April and has already started making changes. The chamber is relaunching its website so businesses can add their own information and connect with each other and Whitfield sold most of the chamber building’s furniture so it can have event space for members.
Whitfield said 18 new businesses have joined the chamber in the last six weeks.
“I think the perception of the chamber was it was stagnant and membership had dropped off and I felt like the chamber needed new life,” Whitfield said. “Wetumpka is growing and prospering and we want to bring all of those businesses, old businesses and new businesses, together so that everyone can prosper.”
Whitfield said she wants to create more value for long-term chamber members and strengthen the chamber’s relationship with the city and Main Street. The chamber is planning historical downtown walking tours with Main Street.
“When we work together, that’s great for everybody,” Whitfield said. “It’s great when you have an event and everyone gets together and they’re all talking. That’s why we do what we do, which is bringing people together.”
Whitfield said she loves living in Wetumpka and since moving to the city two years ago has seen how positive the city has become. Whitfield said the city is succeeding because its leaders have the same vision.
“The economic planners here are doing such a good job,” Whitfield said. “It’s fantastic. You look at how downtown is thriving, how there’s people walking around and there’s restaurants and people are shopping and it’s great. It’s good to be a part of all that.”
Whitfield said the annual draw down at Wind Creek Casino and Resort, which is the chamber’s fundraiser, is scheduled Sept. 10.