Even though  Covid 19 is still a major concern, vendors and many shoppers turned out for the annual Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce Harvest Fest on September 26th from 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. on Main St, Oconto.  Shoppers got to sample wine and alcoholic beverages at Jorene’s Lecuts, purchase caramel apples and baked goods from Bonnie Forgette, purchase amazing ice cream from the booth of Mr. & Mrs. John DeMuth, purchase chicken booyah from Frank Mathy and the Oconto Kiwanis, sit down and enjoy sandwiches from Crivello’s and Aurora Carrazco’s Mexican booth. Children were able to decorate and take home with them a pumpkin from Crossroads Janitorial and Brenda Race. Other vendors selling their wares were Mommy & Me, Beggin Bites, produce from Jim Cherney, Creative Treasures, Plexus, L’Bri, Birch Bark Jewelry, crafts from Lisa Fonder, Lula Roe and 31 Bags, rummage items from Tim Groll, crafts from Arlene Hanarahan, Color Street, bicycles from Bobby Jo Lipp, wood carvings from Power Tool Artist, Heart Scents candles, t-shirts from the Republican Party, crafts from Ann Ristow, Senegence makeup, Usborne Books, Glass Garden angles, Paparazzi jewelry, amazing canned goods from Norine Walters, Ebbie’s Boutique, and info from Copperfest, Chiropractic Advantage,  the Oconto Humane Society and Christian Lit from Josh Zepnick. Many businesses were open on Main St. including Corner Stone Nutrition, the Garage, Beyoutiful Boutique, Main St. Creative Apparel, Main St. Insurance, Omni Ray Lighting, Bay Impressions, Associated Bank, Benzer Pharmacy and Robert’s Hardware. The Chamber wishes to thank all the vendors and shoppers, the City of Oconto, Jeremey Wusterbarth and his crew for the barriers, John’s Johns, Gary Zahn and Copperfest for refuse barrels, Bob Schwartz, Chamber Board member, WOCO and the Reporter for advertising the event.

Ron Hayes, Chamber President, and Kathy Hayes, Board Member.

Miss Oconto 2020

The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce had a monthly meeting called to order by President Ron Hayes in June at the Carriage House with a picnic lunch provided for members and guest.

The announcement of the winners of this year’s scholarship contest and the crowning took place prior to the meeting.  2ND RUNNERUP – BECKY BERTH who is a student at Minnesota State University Moorhead where she will graduate in December 2020 with degrees in Audio Technology and Sports Communication. Her special interests are playing the saxophone, softball, and creating videos. After graduation she hopes to start a career in Broadcast Engineering. Her Chamber sponsor is Cain Accounting. She will receive $250 as 2nd Runner Up. She is currently an intern with the Green Bay Booyah.

1ST RUNNER UP – JENNA HORNBLAD who is a recent graduate of Oconto High School where she ranked 4th in her class. She was class Vice-President, a member of National Honor Society, All Conference in Basketball, Honorable mention in Volleyball, and All-Fox Valley Girls Basketball Honorable Mention. She plans to attend NWTC & then UW-Green Bay to pursue a Degree in Nursing and perhaps a Doctorate of Nursing at U W-Oshkosh. Her Chamber sponsor is Care Partners

“MISS OCONTO 2020” – KALISTA SUSA attends Oconto High School where she will be a senior in the fall and she is an avid softball player on the High School team and with River Rebels Team. Her interests also include painting, volunteering at the Humane Society, reading, and mentoring young softball players. She was the most improved softball player in 2019 and the Miss Copperfest 1st Runner Up in 2019. She hopes to pursue a career as a Dental Hygienist. Her chamber sponsor is BeYoutiful Boutique.  The judges were Beth Larson, Kim Bronikowski and Kathy Hayes and the greeter during the judging was Sara Perrizo.  Each of the 8 candidates we had this year were interviewed one at a time.

Each of the 8 candidates submitted their resume and responded to this year’s essay question: “What it means to be an American to you?” The 3 finalists presented their essay in about 3 minutes and then answered 10 personality questions and 5 history questions. Alayna Westenberg, Miss Copperfest 2019 did the crowning. The other candidates who did not place in the top 3 received $25 in Chamber Bucks.  The other sponsors of the remaining candidates were: Crivellos, Machickanee Players, Sportsmans Club, Avon & Patsy Bake, & Wagner Shell. Mane Street Creative Apparel donated the sash.

      The Chamber would like to welcome one of its newest members, John’s Johns which provides portable toilets to the surrounding area.

      The Chamber will begin next month conducting a monthly drawing for a member in attendance at the monthly meeting. $25 in Chamber Bucks will be awarded.

      The annual golf outing with Oconto & Oconto Falls has been cancelled for this year. Members are looking into a golf social sometime in the future.

      Items are needed for the Chamber Welcome Bags which are given out to new residents at Oconto City Hall. These items can be dropped off at OCEDC ON Main St. Oconto or call Kathy at 920-373-7377 for pick up. These items that include coupons, menus, business cards, pens, and any info about your business or organization.

      “Tunes on Tuesday” will begin on June 23 at the Gazebo behind the Carriage House from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy a variety of music coordinated by the Oconto Tourism Committee & Steve Peterson. Thank you to an anonymous donor for defraying a great portion of the cost. If there is rain, the event will be cancelled. Watch for updates on Face Book.

     The Chamber thanked Laura Cormier of Bellin Hospital on her retirement at the end of June. Julie Bieber, her replacement was introduced. Bellin Hospital is up and running and practicing social distancing and safety procedures. If you have any symptoms for Covid-19 you may call for an appointment at 920-834-1105 and obtain free testing between the hours of 6:00-10:00 a.m. at Bellin in Oconto.  The hospital will celebrate its 15th Anniversary on June 30th. Laura thanked the Chamber and its members for their support of the hospital over the past 15 years.

      Abrams Theatre had postponed its events due to Covid-19 but “My Fair Lady” is scheduled for its first performance on Sept. 17th and thereafter. Go to www.abramstheatre.com for more info, dates and tickets.

      The National Walleye Tournament is coming July 23-24. The rules meeting will be virtual and OCEDC will present coupons to the fishermen. If you have something you would like included, drop these items off to Samantha at OCEDC. Micro Loans up to $10,000 are available and well as grants for small businesses. Please let Samantha know if you have any events that are cancelled and she will get the word out.

      The City Wide Clean Up will occur on July 15 and July 18th. You may drop off items free of charge on those two days only at the City Recycling Center.

      The Chamber is still planning to sponsor its annual Harvest Fest on Sept. 26th on Main St. If conditions change due to Covid-19, further info will be available. There is a great amount of space on Main St. and social distancing can be practiced. There will be form shortly on the Chamber website at www.ocontoareachamber.com The same fees as the last several years will apply.

A group of people posing for a photo

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Alayna Westenberg, Miss Copperfest 2019, Jenna Hornblad, 1st Runner Up 2020, and Kalista Susa, Miss Oconto 2020, Becky Berth, 2nd Runner Up was unable to attend crowning.

Open House & Ribbon Cutting at The Bay

      The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Month is the Bay Facilities, formerly Woodland Village. The Health & Rehabilitation Centers are now The Bay at Suring, The Bay at Oconto and the Home Health Agency is now known as The Bay at Woodlands. This home health agency and these skilled nursing facilities have been located in Oconto County for over 40 years.

       The skilled nursing facilities have 50 licensed beds providing 24-hour care and rehabilitation services with a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services. They also provide service to patients who require additional support & recovery following an illness or injury.  There is a wide variety of therapeutic and clinical programs, amenities, engaging activities & events for residents. To make the transition to The Bay easier, they offer transportation from a hospital to the facilities upon admission.

       Their commitment is to help residents reach & maintain their greatest potential by encouraging functional ability in many ways such as physically, emotionally, mentally and socially. Therefore, the following services are provided to residents at no additional cost: fresh meals with alternative menu options, medication management, housekeeping and laundry, and a large variety of activities & recreational opportunities in house & within the community.

      An Open House and Ribbon Cutting was held on December 5 at The Bay at Oconto from 3:30-6:00 p.m. There was music, food, a silent auction, baked goods, a visit from Santa, & tours of the facility. This launched the new beginning of the Champion Care Company in Oconto. Leah Guiliani is the Director of Community Outreach and Admissions and can be reached at 920-392-2291 or email admissions@bay-suring.com The administrator in Oconto is Mary Dufek and she can be reached at administrator@bay-oconto.com  You can also visit the facility on Face Book.

Some of the staff performing the ribbon cutting
Ron Hayes, Chamber President, Leah Giuliani, Admissions Director, Mayor LLoyd Heier and Santa

Chamber Harvest Fest

The Oconto Area Chamber of Commerce sponsored its annual Harvest Fest on Main St. Oconto on Saturday, September 28, 2019 from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The weather was a great fall day with over 70 spots reserved. Many crafters, food vendors and local businesses displayed their wares. The band “Chain Reaction” provided entertainment.

Main St, Oconto was the venue for Harvest Fest.
Vital Signs sold Oconto memborabilia in honor of the City of Oconto’s Sesquicentennial.
Oconto Area Humane Society displayed some animals for adoption and sold pet outfits.
Alayna Westenberg, Miss Copperfest 2019 conducted games for kids.
Oconto High School Art Dept. sponsored face painting.

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.