Bret SchanzenbachBret Schanzenbach
President & CEO
Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce

As we move past the one-year anniversary of the original Covid-19 stay-at-home order, many have been reflecting on the past 365 days.  All of us could come up with some “choice words” to describe the past 12 months.  My words would include challenging, frustrating, confusing, lonely and bizarre. These months were also innovative, trying, emotional and, did I mention, bizarre?  Stop for a moment and think back to the last movie you watched in a movie theater, or the last play production or concert you attended live?  Could you have imagined how long it would be before you got the chance to do that again? How about huge shout out to all of you first-time home-schooling parents – quite a wild ride, to say the least. And for those of you who are church goers, could you ever have imagined what we went through in 2020?  We attended Murder for Two at New Village Arts in February, 2020.  What an absolute blast that was.  If I had to pick a “last” show to see before being locked down, I’d choose that all over again.  But I am so ready to be past the tiers (or are they tears?).

Fortunately, things are moving in the right direction.  As I look back on our Chamber year, I am astounded at how many “webinars” we hosted in 2020 (63), virtual networking gatherings we convened (80), virtual committee meetings we held (95), and virtual candidate forums we hosted (4).  All the while publishing 60,000 issues of our Carlsbad Business Journal, giving out high school scholarships ($6,000), gathering peanut butter for the North County Food Bank (over 500 lbs), wrapping toys for the Boys and Girls Club (300), and hosting over 800 people at our virtual State of the Community and our virtual CBAD Awards events.

But the question now becomes, “When can we get back to normal?”  My crystal ball is not quite as cloudy as it was 60 days ago, but of course, we still don’t have a perfectly clear answer to that question.  With that in mind, here is what we have planned.

April 21, 2021 is our Green Business Expo, which will be hosted at the Flower Fields in Carlsbad.  This is NOT a virtual event.  This is our first “in-person” event for 2021.  Of course, we will follow all the appropriate health protocols.  Obviously, the event will be outdoors.  And we will ask everyone to wear a mask for extra precaution.  We won’t host any seminars this year, so as to avoid over-congregating.  But we will have 30 excellent vendors who will be displaying sustainable products and services.  We will have some sweet electric vehicles for you to check out. There will be door prizes and a merchant bingo game, with great prizes. We will also have a couple of food trucks with food available.  There is a $10.00 cover-charge donation to attend, which goes to the Flower Fields education fund to help bring school children out on field trips. Lastly, due to Covid restrictions, you are not able to purchase your entrance ticket at the door.  You must purchase it online ahead of time at www.Carlsbad.org.  

We are very excited to see the return of “in-person” events. We hope many of you come out to be part of the Expo and to just be together again. In May we will host our first in-person Happy Hour.  In June, we plan to bring our committee meetings back to in-person for those that are ready (don’t worry, those that want or need to still Zoom in, will be able to).  And in July we are planning to host our first Carlsbad Village Faire in over 18 months (again, who would have thought?).

Will this all look the same as it did pre-Covid?  No.  But we are getting there.  All of these things are predicated on the continued mass distribution of a Covid vaccine and the anticipated reduction in coronavirus outbreaks.  So lets do everything we can to minimize the spread and get out of the bizarre!

Here’s to health and prosperity in 2021!  Cheers!

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