Without Scallop Fest, Chamber looks to the future
“Life after the Scallop Festival” was the unofficial theme of the Jan. 24 Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting.
For much of the past 50 years, the regional business group – serving Bourne, Sandwich and Wareham – had depended on revenue from the annual Bourne Scallop Festival in Buzzards Bay as its most lucrative fundraiser as well as a way to showcase the region’s shellfish.
When the event was moved to the Cape Cod Fairgrounds in Falmouth in 2014 and renamed the Cape Cod Scallop Festival, the intent was to allow the large event to grow even larger. Instead, a combination of logistical problems and bad weather left the 2017 festival losing money.
Speaking at the Chamber’s annual meeting at the Rosebrook Event Center, Chamber officials explained that, after much discussion, they decided there would be no 2018 scallop festival. While leaving open the possibility of resuming the event in subsequent years, most talked of the festival in the past tense.
“The world is changing. The way people travel and go to events is changing,” observed Chamber Chair Chris Richards, senior vice president at Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank.
Richards said the group is now “exploring other opportunities in terms of how we reinvent the Chamber” and promised “more news in the next few months.”
Treasurer Scott Facchetti of Wareham’s Facchetti & Facchetti accountants talked of creating a “lean and mean Chamber” with a number of smaller events.
Nevertheless, the overall mood of the gathering was upbeat. President and CEO Marie Oliva spoke of how thousands of tourists are assisted each year at the Chamber’s two visitor centers in Buzzards Bay and at the Sagamore Rotary.
Beth Isreal Deaconess Hospital Plymouth was honored as the Chamber’s Business of the Year. Barbara Leone of AFLAC was named Ambassador of the Year for her work helping the Chamber connect with its members.
The Chamber welcomed three new Board of Directors members: Pat Stockford, director of sales at TownePlace Suites/Rosebrook Event Center; Suzanne Rosenberg of Rockland Trust; and Elizabeth Bailey of BID-Plymouth.