Pauline Canarella is crowned Miss Columbia Chamber of Commerce in 1960. | Richland Library Digital Archive
The Columbia Chamber will celebrate 120 years with a grand Diamond Gala on Thursday, Oct. 5 on the Segra Park infield.
For the first time, the black tie affair event will switch to a more business casual vibe, inviting 500+ people to celebrate and dance the night away on the diamond.
This year’s event honors tradition while embracing a fresh approach, celebrating the Chamber’s notable past while charting a course for a flourishing future.
What’s in store for the night?
Awards presentation for Ambassador of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, and more.
Live music from The Terence Young Project
A champagne toast and a fireworks display
Last week, we sat down with the Chamber representatives and President and CEO Carl Blackstone as they expressed their excitement about the upcoming event.
“We’re thrilled to be celebrating such a significant milestone. It’s not just about looking back at our achievements, but also about envisioning the future and the role the Chamber will play in Columbia’s growth,” Carl said.
Over the past century, the Chamber has played an instrumental role in fostering business growth, advocating for policies that support businesses, and providing resources and networking opportunities for its members.
Key moments through the years:
Fort Jackson: The Chamber was instrumental in securing Fort Jackson for Columbia, which brings an economic impact of $6.6 billion annually.
State Fairgrounds: The Chamber played a significant role in the establishment of the State Fairgrounds, which was purchased for $2,500 and moved to its current location from Elmwood Avenue and Gadsden Street.
Muhammad Ali: The world-famous boxer was brought to Columbia by the Chamber for a boxing exhibition in the 1970s.
1925 Columbia Unlimited: A booklet that showcased the city’s growth and the Chamber’s initiatives.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth and change over the years,” Carl added. “But our core mission remains the same: to support and advance the business community in Columbia. The Diamond Gala is a reflection of that commitment.”
Stargazing at the Melton Observatory | Monday, Sept. 18-Tuesday, Sept. 19 | 9-11 p.m. | Melton Observatory, 1429 Greene St., Columbia | Free | Melton Observatory is open on Monday nights for your outer space viewing please.
Tuesday, Sept. 19
The Nature of Fall with Rudy Mancke | Tuesday, Sept. 19 | 12-1 p.m. | McKissick Museum, 816 Bull St., Columbia | Free | Join USC’s Naturalist-in-Residence for an in-depth look into the natural changes that accompany the autumnal equinox.
Wednesday, Sept. 20
1 Million Cups | Wednesday, Sept. 20 | 9-10 a.m. | Richland Library Main, 1431 Assembly St., Columbia | Free | Join this event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to a network of founders in Columbia.
Design/Development Review Commission (D/DRC) Meeting | Thursday, Sept. 21 | 4 p.m. | City Hall, Council Chambers, 1737 Main St., 3rd Floor, Columbia | Free | Visit the Design/Development Review Commission page for this week’s agenda for Columbia’s upcoming projects.
Friday, Sept. 22
Columbia Job Fair | Friday, Sept. 22 | 11 a.m.-2 p.m. | Virtual Job Fair, Columbia | Free | Connect and interview with top employers at this virtual job fair.
The annual celebration returns this fall to the restaurant and bar, which will be filled with floor-to-ceiling Halloween decor to get locals into the spirit of the season. Speaking of spirits — sip creative cocktails in tiki mugs featuring your favorite (and scariest) horror movie villains, like Michael Myers, Jason, Freddie + more.
Even with all the seasonal changes, you can still enjoy your Publico faves with the full menu available, plus specials like Taco Monday and Sunday Brunch.
Bonus: Let your four-legged friend in on the fun. All pups dressed in costume get a free puppy plate when they dine in.
Free smells are at the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE). New additions to the food court such as Jimmy John’s, Samuel Adams Brewhouse, and Dunkin’ are part of a revamp expected to be complete by winter of 2024. Plans for in-terminal kiosks and a mobile app for pre-ordering are also in the works.
Enoree River Winery hosts its 10th Annual Harvest Festival on Saturday, Oct. 14, starting at 10:30 a.m. Sample wines starting at 12 p.m. and enjoy live music, crafts, and local vendors. Buy a discounted ticket now, or at pay $40 at the gate.
The YMCA of Columbia is hosting a grand opening for its new Pickleball Courts on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 to 11 a.m., at Jeep Rogers Family YMCA and NorthWest Family YMCA. Both locations will hold demonstrations, offer free play, and host giveaways. The YMCA invested $130,000 in outdoor fitness, adding multiple pickleball + tennis courts.
Respiratory therapist Amanda Clark launched PulManage, offering remote monitoring for chronic lung disease patients. The Chapin-based startup uses an app and Bluetooth spirometry, aiming for early diagnosis and better disease management. (Columbia Business Report)
Free Times pulled together a list of sports bars around Cola for watching football this fall. From wings to jumbo-tron screens, these venues cater to Gamecock and Panther fans + others seeking to cheer on their team with friends.
Chapin unveiled a downtown mural and art trail at its Labor Day parade. As part of the Crooked Creek Art League initiative, the trail features 31 artworks, each by a different artist. Scan the QR codes beside each mural for a scavenger hunt to learn more and submit entries. (Lexington Chronicle)
While there’s many things to do in Fayetteville, the area’s outdoor dining patios provide the perfect place for date nights, evening cocktails and appetizers, or burgers + beer with friends. See Fayetteville’s best patios.*
Looking to reside riverside? Enter:4 West Apartment Homes, located in the heart of West Columbia with upscale amenities and scenic skyline + river views. Learn more.*
Prepare for cooler temperatures with fall HVAC maintenance — and don’t leave out your plumbing system and hot water heater (they also need to be checked annually). Enter: Cool Care Heating, Air, Plumbing & Refrigeration‘s preventive plans for HVAC and plumbing.*
Audiologists are raving about the latest generation of Horizon hearing aids. Why the excitement? They deliver unmatched speech clarity in an ultra-discreet design. The best part?hear.com offers a local, 45-day no-risk trial, so you can try before you buy. Secure your spot.*
How many credit cards are in your wallet? Make your answer “one.” The Ascent’s credit card experts personally signed up for this card because of its perfect mix of benefits: up to 5% cash back, a big bonus, no annual fee, the list goes on. Learn more.*
Get fit in rhythm at the new BEATS Barre Studio. | Photo by BEATS Barre Studio | Amy Guinn
BEATS Barre Studio will celebrate the opening of its new 2,236 sqft studio at 1835 Gervais St. Suite C in The Vista on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will feature remarks from Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann and studio founder Meredith Trout, followed by a reception and tour.
BEATS stands for Burn, Energize, and Tone Sculpt, and the class is taught on the musical beat. Meredith designed the BEATS method to build a comprehensive workout blending mat work, arms, dance cardio, and barre.
The studio will begin operations on Monday, Oct. 2 with classes from Monday to Saturday. Childcare options are available for select weekday classes. Memberships go on sale Thursday, Sept. 21.
The Columbia Chamber of Commerce’s annual galas have changed quite a bit over the years. The first one lasted until about 3 a.m. with men speaking long into the night. Back in the early days of the gala, people would visit the Chamber and fill out a card to help them find a place to stay for the night. The original Airbnb.