Kevin Cody

Hermosa Beach Chamber’s challenges may hurt St. Pat’s Parade, Holiday Tree Lighting and other chamber-funded events

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Cancellation of the Hermosa Chambers Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend festivals have hurt their budget and those of local charities that also benefited from the fair’s popular beer garden. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Ryan McDonald

In a normal year, Maureen Hunt, the president of the Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, would be spending the days leading up to Labor Day weekend frantically preparing for the second installment of Fiesta and Hermosa.

But in 2020, with both the Labor Day and earlier Memorial Day fiestas cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hunt has been finding other ways to keep busy, including moving the Chamber out of its downtown offices earlier this week.

“We’ve been working virtually since April,” Hunt said. “This gives us a chance to save some money. Hopefully things start turning around, and we’ll look for a new space in the beginning of next year.”

Despite the challenges, things haven’t slowed down, Hunt said. The Chamber has been busy helping businesses keep up with rapidly changing coronavirus regulations. For the upcoming Labor Day weekend, Hunt said, they’ve been focusing on hotels, making sure they’re ready for any travelers who might arrive.

Under an agreement with the city, the Chamber has the right to put on the two Fiestas, which constitute the largest arts and crafts fair in Southern California; sales of booths to vendors provide most of the Chamber’s annual revenue. In return, the Chamber finances other civic events throughout the year, such as the holiday tree lighting and the Saint Patrick’s Parade. Hunt said these will be difficult to fund given the blow to the Chamber’s bottom line, and she would be meeting with the city about it.

“That’s a real up in the air question,” she said. ER

 

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