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Chambers highlight lighter side of year

Posted: Thursday, April 01, 2004

Veering from its usually businesslike agenda, the Kenai Chamber of Commerce took time to focus on the lighter side of things Wednesday at its weekly luncheon at Paradisos Restaurant, presenting slide shows from the year that was in both Kenai and Soldotna.

The purpose of the shows was to spotlight the fun and noteworthy events in the Twin Cities that took place in 2003. According to Kenai Chamber Executive Director Colleen Canady, Wednesday's presentation was simply a way to highlight the positive aspects of central peninsula.

"What a great place we live in," Canady said as the Kenai slide show got under way.

The show featured pictures from a variety of community events, from the city's annual Fourth of July parade to the wintertime "Village of Lights" celebration accompanied by a rock and roll soundtrack.

In between shots of events like Kenai's Industry Appreciation Day and the chamber's annual auction, candid shots of city leaders, children and even a few celebrities popped up on screen, while Canady narrated for the chamber audience.

"I just wanted to showcase what a beautiful place we live in," Canady said.

As pictures of the Kenai Peninsula's scenic treasures from mountains to lakes to glaciers rolled across the screen, Canady took time to remind the chamber audience how unique the area is.

"You won't see this in California," she said.

The Kenai portion of the show ended on a somber note, with a picture of Kenai Police Officer John Watson who was killed in the line of duty on Christmas Day riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle in the Fourth of July parade and the words, "Dedicated to the Memory of Officer John Watson."

Following the Kenai portion of the show, Michelle Glaves, executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, took over from Canady.

Glaves said Soldotna's video presentation, produced by Paul Gray of the Exploring Alaska television program, took an entire year of Soldotna events to put together. Luckily for the chamber, however, Gray also is a member of the chamber board of directors.

"We're honored to have Paul on our board," Glaves said. "So that worked out great."

Soldotna's show was much like the Kenai version, with shots of everything from parades to fishing on the Kenai River showing up on screen.

Narrated by Jim Heim of KSRM Radio, the show gave the chamber audience a bit of history as well, as pictures of Soldotna's homesteading days came across the screen, showing early pioneers as they went about the business of building the peninsula's "River City."

"Soldotna: Along the river of dreams," Heim narrated. "Kind of like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow."

The show moved into more modern times as shots of the city's Progress Days Parade brought smiles and even a few laughs to the chamber crowd most notably the famous "Weiner Dogs on Parade" portion of the annual parade, which this year was held under sunny skies and in front of a crowd of thousands.

According to Kenai Chamber President-elect Roy Wells, the most important part of seeing a visual representation of all the things the two towns have to offer is that it highlighted the amount of community involvement there is in the area.

"We do have folks that believe in the community," Wells said. "That's very important."



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