Chamber President Rhonda Crocker recognized and presented plaques to new members for the month of December Amite Tangi Digest, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office, Waterbury Co. and Larry Cardaronella.
Crocker thanked the Christmas parade judges giving their time to judge the entries, and they were Bertha Mendez owner of El Pariente, Brad Phillips of Angie's Bar and Grill, and Peter Armato of Pete's Pharmacy.
Crocker announced the winners from the 2008 Christmas Parade, and they were Best Band - Independence High School, Best Float - Piggly Wiggly, Best Decorated Car /Truck Italian Festival Queen Lea Leto's vehicle, and Best Marching Group - Nesom Elementary.
Guest speaker Reggie Martin owner of Gina's Cafe and President of the Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival spoke to Chamber members about the new festival.
He said that the festival organizers are hard at work bringing everything together for the festival to be held on March 13, 14, and 15, 2009.
"Our festival's parade will start at 10:00 am the Saturday of the festival," Reggie Martin said. "I feel confident that Representative Steve Scalise and Representative Mike Strain will be in our Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival Parade."
"One thing about putting a festival on is that it takes money," Martin said. "We're looking at a cost of $50,000 to put on the festival and we're looking at corporate sponsorship."
Martin invited everyone to attend the next Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival Board meeting on January 5 at 6 p.m. at Independence City Hall.
"We picked the colors of the festival which are red and yellow. We adopted these colors because we are using the Sicilian flag's colors," Martin said. "If you'd like to see the flag which will be present on items at the festival, stop by Action Industrial Studio, the owner Patrice Peuler has a flag hanging there."
"We have decided to set reasonable fees for booths and parade entries. Most festivals start having meetings a year before the event. Our 1st meeting was held only 19 weeks before start of the festival, but we have some great Board members taking on their projects," Martin continued. "Our goal is to bring the festival downtown for a family oriented festival. Lots of people said that they liked the festival the way it was 20 years ago, and we'd like to bring back that atmosphere."
"I extend an invitation for the Chamber members and everyone to participate in our festival," Martin said.