Breaking: Palmer Chamber of Commerce reverses, and Colony Days is back, ‘Braided River Festival’ is out

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Four board members of the Palmer Chamber of Commerce were said to have quit the board, and by Sunday morning the chamber board — what was left of it — had reversed the decision to rename Colony Days as the “Braided River Festival.”

The backlash had only grown since the announcement was made late last week.

“Today, the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce announces the planned Colony Days rebrand will not move forward, following the GPCC Board’s unanimous vote over the weekend to revisit the decision.

“The board made an initial decision to rebrand the event based on assumptions that the feedback from a small segment of our membership was enough to make a decision internally,” said Ailis Vann, GPCC executive director. “That was a mistake, and we heard it loud and clear. Our attempt to present a full package to everyone at once came across as not being transparent and honest, and that was never the intent. We regret the hurt this controversy has caused our community, and our members.”  

The name Colony Days will remain, including for the festival scheduled this year on June 10-12. 

“We’ve learned a lot from this process and look forward to moving on and planning a Colony Days celebration the entire community can be proud of,” said Vann. “To the hundreds of people who spoke up: we heard you and are sorry. We will do better. The pushback has reminded us of the important role in our community that we and our decisions play and we don’t take that lightly.” 

The GPCC plans to engage with its membership in greater depth on this issue in the coming weeks. Anyone interested in learning more about the chamber, its committees, board, and events is encouraged to visit www.palmerchamber.org.

The organization made no reference as to whether it would change the “Colony Christmas” celebration to “Hometown Holidays,” as announced in its rebranding last week. Update: The chamber has said Colony Christmas’ name will not be changed either.

55 COMMENTS

    • And congratulations! “Braided River Festival” sounds like an old hippie dope fest. So happy you good Palmer folks prevailed. Been loving you for 61+ years.

  1. Silly Chamber, this isn’t a Democrat run town don’t you know? We’ve seen the destruction in Seattle and Portland and the progressive rot in California, don’t bring it here.

  2. Whew, Palmer dodged a bullet with this one but don’t worry they will be back………Soros politics of division never sleeps so expect a re-branded sneak attack to surface somewhere else. Hopefully, ‘Eight Stars of Gold On A Field of Blue’ doesn’t offend the non-recognized celestial bodies or that will be next:)

  3. This issue is not over. Who was the initiator of this subject, why and or complaints about the name. I think we deserve to know who initiated this subject.

  4. As a resident of Palmer I am relieved….this has been an eye opener. Slowly the “woke” mentality has slithered in to our community………

  5. You would thing the powers would have learned a lesson from the mask debacle. Some of the same people involved, so no surprise, I guess. While they have backed down, they *still* won’t admit what they did wrong I noticed, in the process of trying to sneak this by.

  6. The response from the citizens of Palmer was absolutely scorching and thanks to social media, spread faster than a pyroclastic flow. Some pretty important old timers and the Palmer Historical society were NOT going to allow this to happen. To begin with, the Palmer Historical society is a MEMBER of the chamber, and they were never asked or told about the rebrand. So only the board knew. They should ALL resign

  7. Yes, the left wants anything with the word colony nixed. WE saved the world in two world wars and rebuilt a lot of the destruction. Have made and saved the world period, and invented much of the world’s technology, along with other parts of the WEST>
    What these abject misanthropes do want not understand that it takes a wealthy country born out of manifest destiny to be altruistic.
    This exists no where else but America.

  8. I want to know who quit the Chamber. For sure those jerks will be showing up somewhere else trying to infiltrate and change our institutions elsewhere. We’ll have our eyes on you.

    • My impression is the ones that quit, were the ones that did not support the changes that were attempted.

      • If the ones who quit did not support the attempted changes, I misspoke. The ones who attempted the changes should be transported to the unpopulated island near Antarctica to spew their venom.

    • Good! Hope they don’t show up in Anchorage. We are overloaded with the likes of them, so maybe they will find an unpopulated island near Antarctica to spew their nonsense.

  9. There is a planned protest at around 3:30 PM at the Chamber Monday. I hope it is still a large showing, now to call for the resignation of the board members that did this!
    I had heard two had resigned, now four!?
    Since the three being recalled in Palmer are all members of the Chamber, this I hope will get out an even larger voter turnout to toss them on their ears, never to be heard from again!

  10. For the record-which of the following 4 Palmer Chamber board members who already voted and/or seconded this ill-thought and well-funded venture are quitting:
    Chamber President Sam Dingas, term 2022-24, Palmer Museum of History & Art
    Chamber President-Elect Robert Foxley 2021-24, Frontier Design Studio
    Chamber Secretary Drewcilla Holifield 2022-23, Edward Jones-Ben Stephens
    Chamber Treasurer Justin Saunders 2022-23, Matsu Convention & Visitors Borough
    Past-President Elect Lucas Parker, 2021-24, Kuchar Construction
    Director Amber Lindstorm 2022-24, HDL Engineering Consultants
    Director Anne Thomas 2020-23 body In Balance

    • Thank You!

      Interesting that most of those listed are not in positions in which they are ordinarily in contact with the general population. Perhaps that isolation contributed to the ignorance of the meaning of history. Overcoming that isolation might begin with Monday’s proposed gathering – where is it to take place? But only if those who those who could be helped to understand are present.

      Of course we are talking about busy people who need to be attending to their own businesses or functions. Would it not be reasonable that our concerns be brought to them rather than expecting them to take precious time away from their work?

  11. So, are the board members who quit, going to reimburse the $10,000 took from membership? I am our local chamber board president and we would have queried membership thoroughly (if it even got that far) and that would have been that. Really dumb move on their part that could have been so easily avoided. As for the $10,000–maybe they could get it from the sources that perhaps planted this ill-advised scheme in their heads. As I’ve said before–the non-Alaskan money and influence is absolutely here and all through the state. They are often bernie-bros (you know–communists…) and they are polluting our state. Banish them to the wilderness.

  12. This is a prime example of responding to the people’s wishes. An example that all levels of government should follow! Our Legislature comes foremost to mind!

    • Yes sir. As a “tween” halfway between Anchorage and Palmer, but still in the clutches of this current Anchorage Assembly, I sincerely hope the Anchorage voters see the light and get rid of the festering public excrement on the Anchorage Assembly this upcoming election. I don’t have high hopes, but I still have the right to dream, don’t I? Best wishes to you and the good Palmer folks.

  13. Thank you everyone for stepped up and sending in your comments and thank you once again Suzanne for keeping us so well informed.
    It’s the Chambers job to respresent the history of Palmer. The Colonist made Palmer and the Mat-Su what it is today. Let’s not forget that or those families legacies what they did was incredible and something that couldn’t or wouldn’t be done today. How many of you would live in a tent for a winter? I know I wouldn’t but my Great Grandparents did with four children.

  14. Please, Ms. Downing, if it becomes possible to know with certainty who authored the insane name change PLEASE publish them and the names of the businesses with which they are associated. Those who regularly patronized those businesses have a genuine need to know.

  15. Wow! That is good news and I appreciate the humility and apparent heartfelt response by the Chamber of commerce. They responded well and it is encouraging to know our voices helped stop a very bad move.

  16. Planters and reapers of Matanuska Valley, unite! With pitch fork, sickle, shovel, and hoe in hand, you’ve taught the newbies on South Colony Way an economics lesson: Don’t try to “cash in” on us! They will think twice before treating you like a bunch of dumb clods and field hands!

  17. It’s a handful of evil oath breakers doing this to all of us unfortunately they have some power. Yet people power can accomplish lots congratulations to people of integrity people power oath integrity and people integrity. Thank you people of integrity oath integrity is all we want.

  18. It’s great to see the people speak up and get results. But it’s obvious that elections matter. Progressives have been winning seats with union support and a little dark money. We must pay more attention and support good candidates.

  19. Amen! Way to come together, Palmer. We sent a profound message to those on the left who thought they could usurp the Will of the People of this proud City to properly remember and honor the legacy of those early settlers, farmers, and colonist who we have to thank for our great city.

    God Bless Palmer, AK.

    • Ditto and Amen. From an Anchorage-ite displaced by political boundaries from many years ago. I fear for Anchorage, but not for Palmer at this point! Be Proud! You deserve it!

  20. Maybe colony has a bad name for the woke crowd, remember these colonists were not even what they think are bad colonists. This was actually a government new deal program from a democratic government. Colonists differentiated from the pioneers who came even earlier. Back then a government program was not just handouts and paying off donors. These folks worked super hard so their their kin could have a better life.

  21. I’m offended by the name “Palmer” can we change the name of the town to some Alaska native word. But not a word for one of the Alaska native slave owning tribes.

    • Sure you can. But I still say “Mt. McKinley” and will continue to call this blessed town “Palmer.” Come and arrest me and haul me off in chains – but you’ll forfeit a huge tax payment. Snort!

  22. We can only hope that more of these folks let us know how they think they know better than everyone else, that way they and their ideas can be removed for the positions they are in. It’s amazing how quickly these people were called to account, how they briefly tried to still force their unwanted ways, and then finally accepted that they’ve overstepped…or at least they’ve retreated, for now.

  23. Pilgrim, you will find the word “whorehouse” in the English lexicon. That should give you an inkling that much is “had” as much is “sold!” This is the way of the world–“laid bare”–rued or not! Look around! Rake through your own soul. So often those who protest the loudest are the vilest. But, then again, why not “please” yourself as often as you can? Take what you can, where you can! Beg for forgiveness when you think you must–otherwise, enjoy yourself and be happy! What do you think the Chamber of Commerce “concerns” itself with if not getting as much as it can? In essence, they are no different than you!

      • Bong de bong bong! A succinct and natural prologue to Darwin’s theory of evolution, “The Wealth of Nations,” by Adam Smith, and Marx’s “Capital.” Bong de bong bong! Bong! Bong! Bong!

  24. “Four board members of the Palmer Chamber of Commerce were said to have quit the board” is called a good start.

  25. It would be a benefit to all parties were a fund-raising effort mounted to assist those who so despise Palmer’s history in moving to Anchorage where they might find acceptance and experience joy.

    Indeed, an act of Christian charity!

    • Rev! You have a refined sense of mission. I’m sure that you know what the “propensities” are of your congregation for “charitable giving.” But let me work with you to whip up a harvestable wrath among your congregants–a “bankable wrath!” The hotter the wrath, the “nicer” the yield! Let’s make a deal!

  26. Good people of Palmer, beware those with hyphenated last names! They are mostly leftists who think they are special, (see the roll call of the Anchorage assembly, for example). I am so proud of Palmerians for giving the chamber of commerce the “what for!” My regret is that I live in the Knik River Road district and can’t vote in Palmer elections, even though I do all my shopping and business there.

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