Sandra Thorn

Sandra Thorn

Summer time means summer fun, and there has been no shortage of that in Winston. This month’s Summer Nite Cruise was as popular as ever, with close to 350 registrants bringing their muscle cars, classic vehicles and custom drives to an appreciative crowd.

People from all over the state shared their love of the American tradition of summer cruising, and many were impressed with Winston’s small-town enthusiasm. The Winston Police Department reported few problems and the Winston-Dillard Festival Association, which stages the event, expressed thanks to all of the participants and volunteers who helped make the event happen.

Winston’s Trader Days in June drew more vendors and people than in recent years. This year’s event featured a Friday night kickoff of activities, with live music, beer and wine, food and merchandise in Civic Wayside Park. “Our new activities drew more people, and we plan to grow Trader Days even more next year,” said Josh Dahlenberg, president of the Winston Area Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber partnered with Travel Southern Oregon and the Wildlife Safari to provide customer service training to local businesses. The half-day training, called “Customer Service Gold, Training for Winston Area Businesses,” was provided to eleven participants including three from the Winston Visitors Information Center, five local employees and managers, one small business development counselor and two students.

All participants received customer service training certification after passing an examination. This training was provided in response to a need identified in First Impressions Study conducted by Rural Development Initiatives, Inc. about two years ago.

It follows on a previous workshop, “Marketing From the Curb,” which helped local businesses learn ways to visually enhance the exterior of their businesses to entice and keep customers.

More to come

The summer is not over, and Winston continues to provide an abundance of fun and family-friendly outdoor activities during the coming months. The Chamber’s annual Summer Potluck BBQ will be held 6 p.m. Tuesday at Wintergreen Nursery. Everyone is invited to bring a dish and enjoy the beautiful outdoor setting while visiting with friends and neighbors. The Chamber will provide hamburgers, hot dogs and bottled water.

Riverbend Live! continues its summer concert series with two shows remaining. On Friday and Saturday, Riverbend Live! Youth Theater presents Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; Aug. 3 features Delta Rae/Carolina Story. All concerts are free.

The Winston Police Department is showing off its new home with an open house 4 p.m. Aug. 3. Join them for refreshments and a tour at 131 Rose Street in Winston.

Wildlife Safari enjoys record-breaking weekends

Summer is in full swing, and at Wildlife Safari, things are bigger and busier than ever. The Safari’s record-breaking weekends are bringing more people to the community from the region, nation and from international markets like China and India. From meeting elephants, to leaving the fences behind and hopping on a cheetah encounter, to the driving through the park and beyond, the family fun doesn’t stop at Safari. “We’re incredibly grateful to have the support of our Winston community,” said Marketing Director Jacob Schlueter, “including the Winston City Council, the city manager, the chamber and its board, and even major community partners like Winston’s Grocery Outlet, Carlos and more.”

Have you seen any Wildlife Safari animals out and about yet this year? Education-outreach animals and cheetahs can be found all over, interacting with the public at fun hotspots like Riverbend Live!, Graffiti Weekend, in schools, in nursing homes, walking down the street and all over the place. The chamber is especially appreciative of the support and participation within our community from Wildlife Safari.

Haven’t been to the park in a while? It’s time to rediscover Wildlife Safari. The elephant expansion is open, providing more space for elephants to roam. The tigers have additional space in the newly renovated Tiger Oasis, daily adventures to feed giraffes and bears are in full swing and every day is a new adventure.

You can’t go wrong with a visit to the park.

Melon Festival celebrates its 50th year

All of Winston will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Winston Dillard Melon Festival on Sept. 14-16.

This family-friendly annual event is a mainstay of Winston’s summer fun and features food, games, music, vendors and prizes. This year will feature additional festivities to celebrate 50 years of fun: Fireworks, live music, a carnival and a classic car show are just some of the special touches added for this year’s celebration.

Sandra Thorn is the executive director of the Winston Area Chamber of Commerce.

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