Chamber fundraiser moves to fairgrounds on Sept. 19th

IMLAY CITY — In a departure from tradition, the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting an outdoor “Chamber Auction” on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Eastern Michigan State Fairgrounds.

Auction-related activities will take place starting at 5 p.m. beneath the new white dome at the fairgrounds. There will be a $5 entrance fee.

The auction will feature local auctioneer Brian Rowley and be co-chaired by Chamber Director Shannon Hamel and Board member Doug Halabicky.

To assure that COVID-related safety protocol is observed, attendees will have the option of remaining in their vehicles and listening to the event on their radios, or access “socially distanced” seating beneath and outside the canopy.

Chamber President Barb Yockey said donated items going up for bids during the auction will be set out on tables for public viewing, or may be viewed in advance on the Chamber of Commerce website.

She added that photographs and written descriptions of auction items will also be available for attendees’ perusal.

Yockey said it is imperative that the September 19 auction is a financial success to ensure that the Chamber can continue to serve the local business community.

“This event is essential for the Chamber to continue paying our executive director (Hamel) and to continue offering our community events,” Yockey said.

She reminded that both the 2020 Chamber Auction and Busker Fest were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Those events are our two major fundraisers,” Yockey continued. “The Chamber relies on those funds to employ our executive director and to continue working on behalf of our local businesses.”

Yockey noted that uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic led the Board to temporarily lay off Hamel for a time; but she was later brought back on a part-time basis (12 hours per week).

On Monday (Aug. 24), the Board decided to restore Hamel to her former full-time (40-hour) duties as Chamber Director.

“It’s very important for us to be able to bring her back full time,” Yockey said.

Auction items needed

With just a few weeks remaining before the event, Yockey and Hamel are encouraging community members to donate items for the auction, and to make a point of attending the event on Sept. 19.

“We are very excited to have our annual auction, though a little later than normal this year,” said Hamel. “We know everyone will be excited to come out for an event that supports the Imlay community.

“This auction will be fun for all, while social distancing.”

For further
information about the rescheduled 2020 Chamber Auction, call Shannon Hamel at

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.