Old Town Association readies for TVR and Chocolate Walk

Larry Cohen is the presendent of the Old Town Association. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

Larry Cohen is the presendent of the Old Town Association. VVN/Vyto Starinskas

COTTONWOOD -- Most of the 52 members of the Old Town Association, including property owners, business operators, the mayor and friends, packed Bootleggers Saloon in Old Town Tuesday evening for the Association's 2015 Annual Meeting.

Led by President Larry Cohen of Larry's Antiques, the board reviewed its cooperative advertising, discussed major events, especially the Chocolate Walk and the Thunder Valley Rally, approved the existing slate of board officials and directors and adopted a bylaw amendment.

The current officers will remain in place. Only one director's post needed to be filled and Nicole Jurisin volunteered and was approved.

The meeting adopted an amendment to the bylaws to allow ongoing work on the document, which needs wholesale updating, according to Secretary Andrea Harless.

The board reviewed its statewide advertising; $60 member fees combined with event profits allow Old Town to market itself using cooperative advertising, partnering with the Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Council and the Arizona Office of Tourism. The $35,000 in combined funds have permitted Old Town to make 17 advertising purchases for placement in second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016.

Members were urged by Lana Tolleson, President of the Chamber of Commerce, to make sure they became part of the National Geographic Geotourism web site. People need to log in and fill out the necessary information by Aug. 31 in order to be included for the Nov. 1 unveiling. She says they are assured their placement will show high on search engines and get an endorsement by National Geographic Geotourism.

Events

Board members said there had been suggestions that the Chocolate Walk start at 3 p.m. rather than at 4 and perhaps finish an hour earlier.

OTA members were reminded that since participants pay $20 for the Walk, businesses should not distribute store-bought candy.

Nancy Gottschaulk of Old Town Frame Shop suggested that there could be a centralized recipe pool, so that people did not worry about offering the same chocolate as another when it came to the winning entry.

One store operator said that she had paid to have chocolates made. "I am not worried about winning, I just want to survive it," she said.

Hezekiah Allen, Special events coordinator for the City Parks and Recreation Department, told the members that Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood and Camp Verde are already booked up for the Thunder Valley Rally. He said two additional security guards have been hired. While parking will be restricted to motorcycles on Main Street, most of Main will have through-traffic, except for the stage area near the south end of Old Town. Cactus will provide all through traffic. Willard will not be closed.

He says George Thorogood has been scheduled Friday night rather than Saturday to maximize the number of overnight visitors.

Allen added that the Facebook page for the event is popular and Cottonwood representatives will attend the Bike Nights at Glendale and Mesa to promote TVR to bikers there.

Allen said NAU Hospitality School will conduct a survey for Thunder Valley Rally like they did for the Tilted Earth Wine and Music Festival.

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