CLARION - The Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry is planning a full slate of events for 2021 and that calendar was discussed at the chamber's annual awards dinner April 24 at the Clarion Moose Lodge.

"2020 was a difficult year due to COVID," said the chamber executive director Tracy Becker.

The chamber board met in Zoom meetings until January 2021 when they finally were able to meet in person.

"We couldn't have any chamber mixers, community events or promotions. All of these things were tabled," Becker said. "When we met, the board decided this dinner was important so here we are."

Becker said she appreciated the efforts of all of the board members during the past year and looks forward to working together to "grow our community."

The chamber has scheduled a full slate of events for 2021, including the annual Autumn Leaf Festival.

Becker said the chamber's first event is the education and job fair scheduled for yesterday (April 28) at the Clarion Mall.

Becker said there were 50 businesses registered from as far away as Pittsburgh set to have booths or tables at the job fair.

"One of the biggest challenges we are facing is getting people into those jobs," she said. "They are looking for employees."

The chamber will be hosting the annual golf outing on Friday, May 28 at the Hi-Level Golf Course. Eight teams have registered already.

The chamber's annual spring legislative breakfast will be held on Friday, June 4 at the Trinity Point Church. The topic will be the proposed tolling on select interstate highway bridges in Pennsylvania.

The chamber will be holding the "I Love Clarion" event on Saturday, July 3 at the Clarion Mall due to continued restrictions on the Clarion University campus. The plans are being finalized.

In addition the barbeque festival will return later in the summer.

The chamber is also exploring the idea of a small business week. Plans include a "passport for savings" and a scavenger hunt.

ALF update

Jennifer Keth, the chairwoman for the 58th Autumn Leaf Festival, provided an update at the annual Clarion Chamber of Business and Industry awards dinner.

"Last year, due to COVID, we had a very limited festival. This year, the festival will run from Saturday, Oct. 2 to Sunday, Oct. 10," said Keth.

The theme for the festival is "Turn Over a New Leaf."

Keth added, "Tracy hit the ground running in March to secure this year's sponsors. Allegheny Toyota has once again agreed to be the title sponsor," said Keth.

"The goal of the chamber remain the same: to serve and promote our members and the community," said chamber president Kim Titley. "We appreciate your financial support but what we really need is your time. Serve on a committee, be a volunteer."