By Kyle LoJacono
“It’s so exciting to see how far the chamber has come in the last 50 years,” said chamber executive Nita Beckwith.
To celebrate, the chamber will host an event from 5 to 10 p.m. April 10 at its location, 14112 Eighth St. in Dade City. The event is open to the public and free except for food and drinks.
The event will begin with “Taste of Greater Dade City” from 5 to 7 p.m. A variety of area restaurants will offer samples of their food, which includes The Garden Café, Angel Tea Room, Del Carmen and Manolo’s.
“I’m looking forward to everything, but I’m really interested in the taste of Dade City,” Beckwith said. “It’s the first time the chamber has done something like this and I can’t wait to try some of the food.”
A visual presentation with photos from the last 50 years will be shown to celebrate the chamber’s history.
“It was so exciting to discover all the historical information and realize that the chamber is responsible for so much of the development and growth in Pasco County, not just Dade City,” said Jodi Pendrotti who put together the visual presentation. “During the past 50 years many businesses have come and gone, but the character of Dade City has remained essentially the same.”
Pendrotti said she joined the chamber as an individual because of the positive influence she has as a member in east Pasco.
The celebration will also include a contest at 8 p.m. to find the custom that best represents the last 50 years. Music from the last 50 years will be played throughout the celebration.
“We’ve been planning the celebration for several months and we are very excited that it is so close,” said Jill Evans, chairwoman of the chamber’s planning committee.
The event sponsor is Florida Hospital Zephyrhills, a chamber member since 1998.
“As an integral part of the community for 25 years, we feel it is very important to support these kind of community events,” said Ali Geib, assistant vice president of practice operations for Medical Group of Tampa Bay, a doctors group affiliated with the hospital. “We feel it’s part of our mission to be out in the community.”
Geib is also a member of the chamber’s board of director and will be at the celebration’s welcome booth.
Florida Hospital Zephyrhills has helped offset some of the costs to put on the event.
Records at the Dade City chamber show that the organization started at least as far back as 1923, but was not incorporated until April 11, 1960. It was originally called the Pasco County Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s the oldest chamber of commerce in the county,” Beckwith said. “I know that for sure because I called all the others…We didn’t realize it went back as far as it does until we started researching the history in preparation for the celebration.”
Representatives from the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce said they had records for as far back as 1926, but believed it was started in 1923 as well.
No records were kept on how many members the Dade City chamber had 50 years ago, but it currently has 350 from Dade City, Zephyrhills, St. Leo, San Antonio and the surrounding area.
“I think it’s great that the chamber has been around for so long,” Evans said. “So many organizations don’t last but a couple years. Plus the chamber helps with other organizations and events in Dade City, so it makes a positive impact on the area.”
For more information on the celebration, call the chamber at (352) 567-3769.
If you go
- What: Dade City Chamber of Commerce’s 50th anniversary
- When: April 10 from 5 to 10 p.m.
- Where: 14112 Eighth St. in Dade City
- Admission: free
- (352) 567-3769