The Strasburg Chamber of Commerce Oktoberfest is Saturday. Recently, the Chamber has been criticized for our decision to charge $5 to get into the event.
Frankly, as a son of Strasburg and a director on the Chamber board, I am disappointed in this response. Instead of people calling to ask how they can help, the callers have been asking "what do I get for $5?"
I know that other local organizations are able to offer events for free, and I applaud their financial well-being. But, the Chamber doesn't have the luxury of that choice. The Chamber, with dues and an annual donation from the Town of Strasburg (thank you Mayor Taylor and Town Council!) struggles to make ends meet every month. Even with generous help from First Bank, the Northern Virginia Daily and other sponsors, we struggle to survive.
We do not have a surplus of funds that we can rely on to host events each year. Maybe the naysayers and complainers don't know that about the Chamber. Maybe they don't care. But, the Strasburg I grew up in wasn't so quick to ask "what's in it for me?" but took the time to be involved.
Unfortunately, I guess I'll have to answer the question that folks are asking..."what's in it for me?" Lots of things! The opportunity to spend a wonderful evening dancing in the street to live music, with great food and a beer garden! The opportunity to support your community by having fun! The opportunity to hear a great band that has not played in Strasburg before (you'd have to travel to Winchester and pay a cover charge to hear them). Mayfest! That's right! By raising funds now, the Chamber is able to survive and plan another great Mayfest next year! The opportunity to be part of something larger than yourself! And, the opportunity to stop asking "what's in it for me" and start asking, "what can I do to be involved"! It's time to take that step.
Join us for Oktoberfest! You'll love the way you feel when you're part of the solution!
Clay Arthur, Strasburg