• Last modified 828 days ago (Feb. 13, 2020)


Winter Gala an opportunity to get resourceful

Staff writer

Sponsors at Hillsboro’s annual winter gala put on by the Chamber of Commerce decorate tables for diners and sweat over the details that go into pulling off a festive occasion.

Cynthia Fleming and her husband own Fleming’s Mini Stor-All in Hillsboro, so she has to get creative to make the table represent her business.

“We bought a lot of little furniture items and things you would find in a storage unit,” she said. “It’s just little miniature stuff. We put that on our table and decorate that way.”

Now in its fourth year, the gala is an opportunity for the chamber to start the year strong, said Lisa Donahue, chamber president and Salem Home marketing director.

“That’s where we generate most of our funds for the year,” she said.

As someone with deep ties to Hillsboro, Donahue said it’s been important to ingratiate herself with the community since she started working at Salem Home, and joined the chamber a few years ago.

“My goal is to be as much a part of the community as I can be, and Hillsboro is where I grew up,” she said. “It always will be home, even if I live in the northeast part of Marion County.”

In addition to sponsors decorating tables, each supplies a donation for either a silent auction or raffle.

Fleming’s item this year is a quilt, allowing her to support multiple organizations simultaneously.

“We bought it at Marion County Toy Run and we’re re-gifting it to the chamber, so it’s supporting two organizations,” she said.

Thinking outside the box every year can be tough Fleming said, but donations vary greatly, from the city covering water bill payments, to Tabor College president Jules Glanzer offering a shrimp boil.

“It’s a little different every year,” she said. “We try to find something we feel people would be interested in so they’ll go ahead and purchase it, and help the chamber.”

The gala is moving back to its traditional venue at Hillsboro MB Church after being held at Tabor’s Shari Flaming Center for the Arts last year.

Going back to the MB Church will be an advantage because it will provide more seating, Donahue said.

“We knew we needed more space, so this year we went back to where they’ve done it in the past,” she said.

This year’s musical guest is Wichita-based vocalist and former Hillsboro resident David Vogel, whose lineup of songs ranges from Josh Groban and Michael Buble to the Beatles.

While this year’s event has yet to take place, the chamber has entertainment chosen for next year already.

Getting started early for 2021 could make it easier to find someone to supply the event’s food, Donahue said.

“Trying to find a caterer was a big deal,” she said. “We’re using someone different this year. We like to go local, but there wasn’t anyone available.”

Last modified Feb. 13, 2020