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Sponsors step forward to help cover Massena Chamber events

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MASSENA — Several businesses have stepped forward to provide financial support for Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce events and efforts in 2014, according to board President Miriam S. Catapano.

“We have sponsors for some events that we’ve never had before,” she said.

The chamber hosts several events throughout the year, including the Massena Winter Carnival, the Easter-egg hunt, the annual Heritage Festival, the Block Dance/Car Show and the Summer Concerts in the Park.

Some, such as the Heritage Festival, are money-makers for the chamber, while others are simply for the benefit of the community. All of those events come with associated costs, however, and Ms. Catapano said the chamber has been seeking sponsorship support for them.

“We changed something this year. Penny (Pullmain, associate director) was somewhat instrumental,” she said.

Ms. Catapano said members of the chamber’s board of directors compiled a list of the upcoming events for 2014.

“One of the things they thought was, it would be better for our members if we went to them with a list of all the events we have and said, ‘Here’s sponsorship opportunities for the whole year. When you’re budgeting, think about these opportunities,’” she said. “It’s the first year we’ve done it in such an organized and systematic manner. We’re very pleased.”

Doing that, she said, provides exposure for the chamber member and also helps the chamber.

“It was well worth the effort because it’s starting to pay off,” she said.

There are also opportunities for website advertising and water-bottle sponsorship.

“The Winter Carnival is in the mix, but was done separately in more detail,” Ms. Catapano said.

The event sponsorships list, which included a sponsorship fee, was sent out as an individual mailing rather than put with the dues letter, as it had been in the past, she said.

“The response was phenomenal. We were very pleased with the number of members that returned the form. Some of them will sponsor events they hadn’t in the past,” Ms. Catapano said.

The sponsorship fee for the Jan. 9 luncheon, for instance, was $200. NBT Bank signed up for that sponsorship.

Seaway Valley Ambulance and SeaComm Federal Credit Union, meanwhile, signed up as $500 event sponsors for the June 7 Heritage Festival. That event also provides opportunities for entertainment, food both and parade sponsorships at $300, $400 and $300, respectively.

SeaComm also has signed on for a $500 event sponsorship for the block dance and car show July 12, as well as joining with the Donaldson Funeral Home as $500 event sponsors for the eight Summer Concerts in the Park. “The more sponsors we have, the better Concerts in the Park we can do. It’s the same with all the other events. It costs money,” Ms. Catapano said.

SeaComm, Seaway Valley Ambulance and Community Bank have agreed to be $300 event sponsors for the Sept. 6 Harvest Festival, and Community Bank has signed on for three tee sponsorships for the chamber’s annual golf tournament. Skinstitch, Hoot Owl Enterprises and SeaComm also have agreed to sponsor other portions of that tournament.

Sponsors also have started to step forward for the Jan. 16-26 Massena Winter Carnival. The Cultivating Healthy Communities Coalition, using federal grant funds, has stepped forward as the title sponsor for the event. Skinstitch has signed on for a Silver Business Sponsorship, and Blevins Seaway Motors has signed on for a Bronze Business Sponsorship.

Ms. Catapano said the chamber approached potential Winter Carnival sponsors separately through visits, letters and phone calls.

“It requires a lot more funding than any of the other events,” she said. “The Winter Carnival is there for the community. Our goal was to have an event in the winter. For the Massena area we wanted to give them something to do during the winter. We also wanted to bring in outside people for the economic impact.”

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