Monday, February 26, 2024

Newport chamber planning gala event

| December 6, 2023 1:00 AM

The Greater Newport Area Chamber of Commerce is planning its first gala event since 2019. The annual gala has historically brought together the community to celebrate local businesses and raise funds for economic development activities.

Leading the chamber's gala committee are Jake Abbott of Ruby Creek Resort and Jackie Bilaski of STCU.

“We are excited to bring back this important event,” Bilaski said. “In the past, the annual gala has been a fun opportunity to come together, dress up, and support the local community. At the 2024 Annual Gala, we will have a keynote speaker, games, auctions, and dancing. The gala theme will be announced soon, and I can tell you that you won’t want to miss this event."

This is the chamber’s first gala since the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was originally scheduled for September 2023; however, the chamber decided to postpone the gala in the wake of wildfires and instead encouraged the community to donate to fire relief efforts.

Funds raised at the 2024 Annual Gala will support beautification and education initiatives.

“All proceeds from the gala will be reinvested in our local communities. Enhancing the beauty of our main thoroughfares encourages customers to frequent local businesses,” Abbott said.

As a recent example, the Greater Newport Area Chamber of Commerce donated funds to the new Creative District for holiday decorations. Funds raised at the gala will also support education initiatives, including the implementation of a Business Week for Cusick and Newport high school students.

“We want to introduce youth to business concepts and to local business owners to encourage entrepreneurship in our rural communities,” Abbott said.

The chamber is also raising funds to keep the Newport Visitor Center open. 

“The Visitor Center supports education initiatives in two ways. First, to educate the public and visitors about our local businesses and recreational activities. Additionally, the Visitor Center serves as a career training site to help local residents re-enter the workforce.” Abbott said. “If these initiatives resonate with you, we are asking for your help! You can participate by attending the 2024 Annual Gala, or by donating items to be auctioned or raffled at the event.”

The 2024 Annual Gala will take place Saturday, March 16, at the Priest River Event Center. This event is open to the public. Tickets will go on sale starting in December 2023, and the Gala Committee is currently soliciting donations, such as gift certificates and gift baskets, for the gala auction. To learn more or to get involved, call 509-447-5812 or email

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