Author Archives: Kathy Hayes

Miss Copperfest 2019


Miss Copperfest 2019 was crowned at the Kick Off Breakfast on June 7 at the Oconto Legion Copperfest Park. She is Alayna Westenberg, daughter of Steve & Debbie Westenberg. She received a $1000 scholarship from the Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce. She was sponsored by Care Partners-Country Assisted Living. Alayna completed her junior year at Oconto High School and has participated in the Spanish Club, Science Club, Math Team, Student Council, National Honor Society(President for 2 years), Band (participated in State Solo & Ensemble,) and statistician for the Varsity Baseball Team. She is the Badger Girls State Representative, a member of the Prom Court, a recipient of the Society of Women Engineers Certificate of Merit, and a regular blood donor. She plans to attend UW-Madison to major in radiology and pharmacology or perhaps a physician’s assistant. Kalista Susa, daughter of Gretchen & John Susa was the 1st Runnerup and received a $500 scholarship from the Chamber. Kalista completed her sophomore year at Oconto High School, where she has been active in Varsity Softball, Student Council and Trail of Terror. She also volunteers at the Oconto Humane Society, the Oconto Cheerleading Program and helps teach other softball players. She plans to go to college to major in Special Education. Kalista was sponsored by Stewart’s Heating & Cooling.

The Committee consisted of SARA PERRIZO (MISS COPPERFEST 1994), LAUREN RESCH, MISS COPPERFEST 2004) PATTY HEIER, Mrs. Mayor of Oconto, wife of our Mayor, Lloyd Heier, and Kathy Hayes, Chairman.


Watch for upcoming Oconto Chamber Events: At Waterfest, on July 3, The Chamber will sponsor a Costume Contest for adults & children. There will be 2 categories for adults and children. You can dress in “patriotic” garb or a “sesquicentennial” historical theme. The judging will take place at 7:00 p.m. near the bandstand. Chamber Bucks will be awarded for each age group and category. Congratulations to the RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR – WAYNE’S FAMILY RESTAURANT They received the MOST VOTES AND were the MOST CREATIVE WITH RECIPES USING OCONTO BEER Chamber Golf Outing, July 22 at The Patriot. HARVEST FEST – SEPT. 28 ON MAIN ST

Ken Hayes provided a tour for Miss Wisconsin at KCS International/Crusiers Yachts.

Chamber Recognition Banquet

The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce held its 5th Recognition Banquet on April 23, at Crivello’s. This recognition occurs every other year. The recipient of the “Ed Zahn Volunteer of the Year Award 2019 is Don Nerenhausen. This award is named after Ed Zahn who hosted the Chamber Welcome Center for many, many year. The criterion for the Volunteer award includes the accomplishments of an individual who has demonstrated a leadership role in one or several organizations and has shown a commitment to serve the well being of others. The conduct of the individual must be above reproach in regards to quality and service. He must project a positive community image. Don graduated from Oconto High School in 1946 and has lived in Oconto most of his life. He has seen many changes as he watched Oconto grow. He is the Treasurer of the Oconto Chamber & Oconto Kiwanis Club and past President of the Kiwanis Club and Oconto Lions Club and past Treasurer of the Oconto Industrial Fund. Don is sponsoring the mural on the new wing of Farnsworth Library which could be completed sometime this year. As a member of the American Legion Post #7, Don suggested that the army tank formerly housed at the Oconto Golf Course be restored. It is now at the Beyer Home Museum. The American Legion is celebrating its 100th anniversary on November 10th of this year and Don is working on a project to design and construct a County Veterans Memorial which will go in front of the army tank. Don was the past Mayor of Oconto from 2006-2010. Don also introduced the “Beer, Wine & Cheese Tasting” event which the Oconto Hospital Foundation is sponsoring on April 27th. Both Don & his wife Irene have been very involved in the 1st American Lutheran Church. Don was involved in the church council and membership drives, and also secretary, treasurer and president of the congregation. The current project Don is involved in is chairman of the “Grow Oconto” committee which is designing and constructing a pedestrian bridge from Bond Park to Holtwood Campground. Don stated: “All I can say is I did my best, with a lot of help from others to make Oconto a better place to live, and I enjoyed every minute of doing it.” Past recipients of the Volunteer Award include: Gary Zahn, 2011; Jeremy Wusterbarth, 2013; Karl Ballestad, 2015; and Janine Hornblad, 2017. The Business of the Year is Unlimited Services. This award is for the accomplishments of a business as a whole and not necessarily for an individual person. Participation in community events or programs that support or improve the City of Oconto and its surrounding area are the important criteria. US has its main plant in the Industrial Park in Oconto and another plant in Guaymas, Mexico and a third plant which opened in 2019 in Hermosillo, Mexico. Rod Drummond is the president of US. Their primary product is a custom made wire harness for off-road equipment, fire & emergency vehicles and heavy duty trucks for the military and defense as well as industrial and telecom devices. An important reason for choosing this manufacturer is the philosophy that it instills in its employees that it is essential to give back to the community and area residents. The employees contribute on a quarterly basis to many organizations such as Bread by the Bay, Oconto Area Humane Society, Elysia Mireles, the 6th grader who passed away recently from cancer, a family in Gillett whose house burned, local school districts and our overseas troops. There are 266 employees currently working on 2 shifts. The staff recently dressed in blue to support Autism Awareness Day on April 2nd. At Christmas time each employee receives $25 in Chamber Bucks which are gift certificates that can be redeemed right here in our community. Second year employees also receive a $25 certificate. They are currently advertising for 2 juniors or seniors to job shadow this summer with the Quality Team, Manufacturing Engineering or Design Engineering for two weeks with each department and then work the remainder of the summer with the department they are interested in pursuing further. Employees nearing retirement can be involved in a program that keeps them working but only 3 days a week. They then have 4 days off but continue to be active in the work environment. The US Team has participated in the Chamber Christmas parade, “Footsteps 4 Madysn” and organized their own run/walk for the Oconto Hospital in 2012-2013. Many employees enjoy working at US due to the continuing education policy, the flexibility offered and the balance that one can maintain between home, work and life. Past recipients of the “Business of the Year” include: Thompson’s County Market, 2011; Matravers Hardware, 2013; Wagner Shell, 2015; and Stephenson National Bank & Trust, 2017. Senator Dave Hansen and Mayor Lloyd Heier commended the recipients on their service and commitment to our City. 


The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual Expo at the Bond Community Center on March 23rd from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Many new vendors displayed their products and services. If an attendee showed their already purchased coin medallion or bought one at the Expo, he or she qualified for a raffle drawing. Jean Martin was the winner of the coin medallion drawing and won a table top grill donated by Robert’s hardware and an anniversary t-shirt and cap donated by the Chamber. The Chamber also held its own raffle which consisted of many Oconto Beer items which was won by Pat Honish. We would like to thank the following vendors for participating: ABRAMS THEATRE,  AVON,  BAY IMPRESSIONS,  BELLIN HEALTH, CARE PARTNERS, CHIROPRACTIC ADVANTAGE, CITY OF OCONTO INSPECTIONS, CITY OF OCONTO/PARKS, EDWARD JONES, FARNSWORTH LIBRARY, HSHS ST. CLARE REGIONAL SURGERY,  HSHS ST. PHARM & PRESC SERVICES HSHS ST. VINCENT CANCER CENTER KOEHNE BUICK GMC LIBERTAS TREATMENT CENTER MACHICKANEE PLAYERS MAIN STREET CREATIVE APPAREL MAIN STREET HEALTH INSURANCE NEW CREDIT UNION NEWCAP OCONTO AREA HUMANE SOCIETY OCONTO FIRE & RESCUE OCONTO POLICE DEPT OCONTO SCHOOLS PATRIOT GOLF CLUIB PREVEA THERAPY INSTITUTE SUNVALLEY HOMES II UNITY HOSPICE VITAL SIGNS WAGNER SHELL WOCO WOODLAND VILLAGE

Santa’s Visit & Christmas Parade 2018

The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored its “Visit with Santa” and its annual Christmas Parade on Dec. 1st. Over 70 children chatted with Santa and enjoyed cookies,  milk and hot chocolate while coloring and making ornaments.  The weather was not the greatest for the parade but the Chamber wishes to thank the participants: Machickanee Players and their magicians, Unlimited Services, Edward Jones, the Girl Scouts, Sportsman Club, Mayor Heier and Mrs. Mayor, the ATV Club and the Oconto Fire Dept. with Santa(Bob Hellman) on the fire truck. We wish to thank the Oconto Woman’s Club for helping with the event, Brothers 3 for the hot chocolate, Robert’s Furniture for the use of Santa’s chair,  the City of Oconto for the use of the multi purpose room and Council Chambers and the Oconto Fire Dept for transporting Santa in the parade. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!

Chamber Harvest Fest

The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored its annual Harvest Fest on September 29th on Main St. Oconto. This event occurred from 10:00 am-3:00 p.m. Prior to the start of Harvest Fest, the Oconto Kiwanis Club conducted its 5k run walk with the start at John O’Neil’s Garage where chicken booyah was also sold. Main Street was very festive with the fall decorations. The Chamber would especially like to thank Pat Heier and Wendy Spice and their committee for the decorations on the light poles and OCEDC, Sam Boucher and Nancy Rhode who planted the pots. Monetary donations for these projects were received from the City of Oconto, OCEDC, Oconto Woman’s Club and the Chamber.

   The weather wasn’t as nice as last year, but over 60 spots were reserved for Harvest Fest.

The Chamber would like to thank all the vendors that attended and also the shoppers who patronized the vendors and also the businesses on Main St. that were open.

      Some of the highlights of Harvest Fest include the “Cutest Pet” sponsored by the Oconto Area Humane Society, pumpkin decorating by Brenda Race and Main Street Nutrition, games for the kids at Newcap and Westenberg Financial, a coloring contest sponsored by Bay Impressions, face painting by the OHS Art Club and Jim Arneson, and a variety of jewelry and crafts booths. Food vendors provided a good variety from Crivello’s, Kellie and Tim Belongia, Lori Boyd of Wise Guys, Aurora Curazzco’s Mexican food and Jim Truckey with kettle corn. Don Marovich provided musical entertainment. The Chamber intends to keep the same approximate date for Harvest Fest with plans for next year on the last Saturday in September which is Sept. 28th.

      The next Chamber project is Santa’s visit and the annual Christmas parade on December 1st. The Chamber is looking for businesses or individuals who would like to enter a float in the parade, a vehicle, or a group to walk. Any participation is welcome. Please contact Kathy or Ron at 920-373-7377 or 920-835-5348 if you are interested. If any group would like to sing Christmas carols in Freedom Park on that day, contact the above numbers. Santa will visit with the children at City Hall from 2:00-3:30P.M. before the parade.

      The Chamber meets at restaurants the 3rd Tuesday of each month. The October meeting is at the Oconto Legion Golf Club on October 16th.




Culpepper & Merriweather Circus coming to Oconto

The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus is coming to Oconto August 17-18th. The Advanced Clown,  Skeeeter, made an all day appearance on August 6th to entertain young and old alike and to promote the circus. She made stops at Farnsworth Library, Oconto Day Care, WOCO radio for an interview, the Zone, Oconto City Hall and Woodlands Nursing Home. A lunch stop was also made at Crivello’s.  Skeeter has been a circus clown for about 28 years and yes she did attend Clown School to perfect her magic coloring book trick and her balancing act with Macaroni, her peacock feather. She entertained by going back in history to play a flute and a wooden slide whistle. She taught children how to balance Macaroni the feather on the tip of a finger. She made balloon shapes that the children could take home and gave out free circus tickets.

Ribbon Cutting at American Family Insurance

The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Grand Opening of the new American Family Insurance building on July 21st. The building is owned by Kevin & Amy Huggett at 215 Main St. Oconto. The Kevin Huggett Agency of American Family Insurance was established in 2006 and has a location also in Gillett. There are three staff members: Sydnie Patzer, Amy Huggett and Lisa Shelton. Their goal is to make sure that you have protection that matches your style. They will look over your current policies and make sure everything is current. Insurance coverage ranges from car, home, farm and ranch, life and business. The unique backgrounds, training and experience of the staff have prepared them well to help meet your insurance needs. Additionally, as residents of your community, they understand how important it is to be there for you – trusted friends and neighbors. Office hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Gillett office hours are Monday and Friday 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. You can access the agency anytime at 1-800-692-6326.

Kiwanis Harvest Hustle

Kiwanis Harvest Hustle  5K Run-Walk

September 29th, 2018 8.00 am

Starts and Ends at “The Garage” on Main Street

Register at or by calling Rob Sherman @ 920-834-3462.

Cost $25.00 includes T-shirt and Prizes

100% of money raised goes back into the community for Oconto youth programs like the Oconto Scholarship, Book and School Supplies, and other youth programs.

Run or Walk Your Way to Better Fitness and Enjoy Oconto Harvest Fest!


Miss Copperfest 2018

At the Kick-Off Breakfast on Friday, June 8, Miss Copperfest 2018 was chosen. She is the 36TH queen to receive this honor. She is Sydney Koch.

      The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the contest by presenting scholarship amounts. Miss Copperfest 2018 received a $1000 scholarship, the 1st Runner-up, Mackenzie Heyrman received a $500 scholarship and the 2nd Runner-up, Megan Ryan received a $250 scholarship. Additional prizes were given to all 3 of the candidates.

       The Chamber would like to thank all the 2018 Chamber Business sponsors which include: Wayne’s Family Restaurant sponsor of Megan; Patsy Bake of Avon, sponsor of Mackenzie and Brothers 3, sponsor of Sydney.        The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank : Miss Wisconsin, McKenna Collins, for her appearance; Lauren Resch, Patty Heier and Sara Perrizo, judges for the contest; Brothers for hosting the meal for the judging; Vital Signs for the car signs, The Reporter and WOCO for publicity for the contest, Main Street Creative Apparel for providing the sashes, crown, and Oconto Floral for the roses for the crowning.

Kathy Hayes, Chairman of the Miss Copperfest 2018 Committee

Robert’s Appliance Ribbon Cutting

The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce facilitated a ribbon cutting at Robert’s Appliance Center on Friday May 4th.

Roberts Appliance formally known as Matravers TV & Appliance was purchased by the Robert’s Family in December 2016. The Roberts knew that the appliance store needed more room to grow so the decision was made to move across the street to 908 Main Street.

Stop in and see the new store which is open 9:00am – 5:00pm Monday through Friday and Saturday 9:00am – 3:00pmPictured: Don Nerenhausen, Chamber Treasurer; Chris Roberts, Maria Roberts, owners and Ron Hayes,  Oconto Chamber President.