By Ian Nadeau
Atlantic News, Thursday, March 21, 2002
[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
[Atlantic News Photo by Ian Nadeau]
HAMPTON -- As an organization which has tirelessly publicized and promoted Seacoast events and businesses for a great many years now, the Hampton Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has played a significant role in strengthening both the local economy and community.
At the visitor center on Hampton Beach, Chamber volunteers steer vacationers toward the top local spots in town. Four million people come to the Seacoast for some fun in the sun every summer; when any of these visitors needs advice or directions, they typically go to the Chamber first. Every day, the Chamber offers suggestions on the best places to eat, shop, and visit, increasing the consumer traffic for lots of hard-working businesses in town.
Throughout the entire year, the Chamber brings Seacoast businesses together in the hopes that they can establish mutually beneficial relationships within the region. At their monthly "Business After Hours" functions, all sorts of local business leaders can be found networking and getting to know their neighbors. The Chamber also teams up with the Exeter chapter for various breakfast forums, not to mention acting as the host of ribbon cutting ceremonies and open houses in which they regularly take part.
The volunteer organization recently completed their 64-page activity guide which is a genuine wealth of knowledge. The book is supremely useful for both residents and tourists; containing a history of the towns the Chamber serves (Hampton, North Hampton, Hampton Falls, Seabrook and Rye), an itinerary of upcoming events and a directory of businesses, clubs and other organizations.
Besides being a useful tool for this summer's vacationers, the printing of the guide can also be seen as a good omen for the beach.
Chamber President B.J. "Doc" Noel says the number of requestsrequests for the guide thus far has far exceeded the numbers from last year at this time. The sheer volume, of calls seem to indicate that it will be another great summer at Hampton Beach this year.
"I think we're going to have a dynamite year," said Noel.
The only variable in the equation would be the weather. But, Noel enthusiastically notes that, regardless of the weather, vacation rentals are already booked to capacity.
With prospects looking bright, the Chamber is gearing up for the big summer season. First on the agenda are plans for the second annual Master Sand Sculpting Competition sponsored by the village Precinct. The event returns on the heels of the unbridled success of last year's exhibition.
"That really floored us all," said Noel.
On Friday, June 14, 250 tons of imported sand will be dumped on the beach, kicking off the festivities. Awards will be handed out the following Friday on the Seashell stage.
After that, the group will be hard at work making sure everybody knows about big beach events like the Miss Hampton Beach Pageant, the weekly fireworks over the water, the nightly concerts, the Children's Festival and, of course, the Seafood Festival.
No matter what the cause, the Hampton Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is always happy to help bring some much deserved attention to the Seacoast.
Chamber personnel can be located at their offices at 1 Park Avenue (Suite 3G) or, as always, at the visitor center in the big blue building on Ocean Boulevard during the summer. If there is any way the Chamber can be of service, give them a call at 1-800-GET-A-TAN.
And don't forget to check out their live weather camera on the web at www.hamptonbeach.org.