Commentary | Harrington: Winter happenings

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And we're off and going! Welcome to winter 2018! The chamber has a slew of things in store for our Shires visitors and residents this winter season. Check them out below:

Coffee and Conversations: Professional Service Members Roundtable, Tuesday, Jan. 16, Bringing You Vermont, Bennington (7:30 a.m.-9 a.m.): This roundtable series is focused on discussions with industry groups within our chamber membership to better understand their current business status and ways the Chamber can help. Served with coffee from Bring You Vermont, this early morning gathering is what we're all about — connecting, discovering and growing together! This one will specifically focus on professional services members (accountants, doctors, lawyers, business professionals, etc.). This event is free to members.

Chamber Annual Meeting and Dinner: Saturday, Jan. 20, Elks Club, Bennington (5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.) - A night meeting and dinner for our full membership to join to vote on the annual budget, welcome new board members and slate of officers, to hear about the 2018 goals and plans for the Chamber and to find out who will be receiving the prestigious D. Ed Moore Award, President's Award, Community Spirit Award and the Mike Williams Award. This is a great networking event too! Tickets to this event are $45 (dinner included, cash bar).

North Bennington Winterfest: Saturday, Jan. 27, North Bennington Village, (8:30 a.m.-night): A fun-filled, wintery Saturday to get everyone out of their houses and enjoying the joys of living in Vermont in the winter! Come enjoy the Lake Paran Plunge, live music, pig roast, pony rides, solar energy fair, massages, acupuncture, specialty tastings, Lion's Chilifest, bonfires, indoor winter carnival and so much more! This event is free and open to the public.

Day Under the Dome: Trip to Montpelier, Tuesday, Jan. 30, Vermont Welcome Center, Bennington (6 a.m.-6 p.m.): Join the Chamber on our annual trip to the Vermont State House! Leaving the State Welcome Center at 6 a.m. on the Green Mountain Lines with "Joe Bus," we will be in Montpelier by 9 a.m. to meet with our representatives, the governor, lieutenant governor, committees and enjoy the historic State House building. The cost is $35 a ticket (food not included).

Lunch and Learn: Cyber Security with CIT Associates, Feb. 23, 215 South Street, Bennington Downtown Alliance, Bennington (12 p.m.-1 p.m.): A benefit we provide to our members, every Lunch and Learn is a time we can get together over a bagged lunch, network with other professionals in the Shires of Vermont and grow in our learning and business capabilities. The topic for this lunch is cyber security with Jackie Berry of CIT Associates. Bring your favorite lunch and get ready to learn in 2018!

2nd Annual Wings and Winter Homebrew Festival: Saturday, March 10, Location Downtown Bennington TBD, (12 p.m.-5 p.m.): Join us for our Second Annual Wings and Winter Homebrew Festival! We are a Top 10 Vermont Winter Event, had a sell out crowd last year, and have big plans for 2018. Bigger Venue, More Wings, More Homebrewers, and LIVE Music! Enjoy plentiful samples of wings from the areas top restaurants and over 100 unique home brewed beverages, including beer, wine, cider, and mead! We are offering a VIP Session this year! Be the first to sample all the Wings and Homebrews and have access to special Wings and Homebrew that will only be available during the VIP Hour. This is a VERY limited ticketed opportunity so if you're interested secure your tickets today! Tickets: $34-$50

Of course, these are just some of our Chamber sponsored events. Get the lowdown on all the events in the Shires that are keeping us active and create a healthy community — Go to Bennington.com/calendar.

We hope to see you out and about this winter!

Matt Harrington is the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

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