AuthorDesa Cammack

Oakdale Chocolate Festival is Good Business for Local Business

The Oakdale District Chamber of Commerce proudly announces our 26th Annual Chocolate Festival to be held May 19 & 20, 2018. 

The Oakdale Chocolate Festival is recognized in the Central Valley as a, “successful and must attend event,” providing quality entertainment and attractions. This event provides sponsors broad exposure in our local community. The Oakdale Chocolate Festival operates with professional standards, offers to its attendees the highest value for a fun family-oriented, and with the sponsors and patrons support will provide for the needs of our students, non-profit organizations, and the community they serve.

There are several businesses and non-profit groups that benefit from this event.  Groups to date that have benefited are:  American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Boy & Girl Scouts, Community United Methodist Church, Fire Department Explorers, Interact Club of Oakdale High School, Kiwanis Club, Knights of Columbus, Oakdale C.A.P.S., Oakdale Rotary, Pacific Project Heroes, Police Department Explorers, River Oak Grace Church Youth Group, San Joaquin Regional Conservation Corps, and Shadow Chase Run Club. Last year over $16,000 was raised for our local service groups. Also over 1.5 ton of cans were collected at the gates for Oakdale Community Sharing.

Sponsorship income is also used for a variety of expenses including posters, brochures, signs, security, insurance, entertainment, booth rentals, and more. Your business being sponsors will benefit your company through a variety of advertising opportunities.  Last year, festival attendance was 45,000. The average attendee was 30-50 years old and married with a family.  Visitors come from all over California with a concentration of people from Stanislaus County, San Joaquin County, Bay Area, and Sacramento.

So would you like your business associated with this successful event and get your name in front of thousands for the weekend? Please contact Desa Cammack at the Chamber we have levels ranging from $250 to $10,000.

Message from Outgoing President

John Lane, 2018 President of the Chamber Board

With the holidays in full swing and school finals wrapping up, I’m sure looking forward to family reunions and hitting the streets of Oakdale for a little last-minute Christmas shopping! For this, my last newsletter representing the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, I decided to briefly recount my journey to the Chamber. My wife, Tina, and I moved to Oakdale with our growing family on Rodeo weekend in 1999. We found Oakdale to be welcoming and were happy to enroll our kids in a great school district! I became a partner in a small environmental consulting firm in 2006 and worked out of Modesto for a few years, before I seized the opportunity to move my office to Oakdale, my adopted home town. I did not immediately join the Chamber because my available hours were chewed up by work and lots of dad stuff. But as my daughters became more independent and less dad-dependent, I decided to join the Chamber of Commerce. Although I hoped for additional visibility for my small company, for me, joining the Chamber was a way to get to know my city a little better and to meet more of my peers. I can happily report, “Mission Accomplished!”

I started small by attending the monthly mixers sponsored by Chamber members, where the new faces became more and more familiar with every “Hi, I’m John” and “What company are you with again?” I stopped into the Chamber office a few times to ask the staff about various issues concerning small business and the community, and was soon asked to join the Board of Directors. I was, at first, luke warm to the idea, but eventually agreed, and I am thankful that I did.

Now, as my term as president comes to a close, I want to thank the Chamber, and by extension, the local community, for allowing me to serve you over the past several years. I’d also like to thank the Chamber’s staff, Mary, Trisha, and Desa, for their hard work and continued efforts to expand their knowledge and capabilities, and my fellow Board members for their time, their mentorship, and their friendship. As we look forward to 2018, I encourage you to continue to stay involved in our wonderful community. In a small city like ours, our personal lives and our professional lives intersect often. If you are wondering what is the best way for you to get involved with the Chamber, call or come by the office and talk to Mary, Trisha, or Desa, and, whether you want to jump in with both feet, start slow, or just attend the many fun events throughout the year, I’m sure they will help find the right fit for you. Just remember, a Chamber membership is very much like a fitness membership for your business; if you don’t go and put in the effort, you won’t see the positive results!

I hope to see many of you at the 72nd Annual Oakdale Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner on January 19th to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations, and businesses that have been nominated by the community for their efforts. Until then, I’ll see you around town!

Why does the Chamber do community events?

by Desa Cammack, Oakdale Chamber Events Coordinator

The Chamber’s mission is to “unite the business community by enhancing business, economic growth and tourism; while retaining the high quality of life in Oakdale.” Events like the Chocolate Festival, Taste of Oakdale and Pours in Stores bring an economic value to the community in different ways. Chocolate Festival leads to hotel stays by many of the 200+ vendors and visitors spending money in our restaurants, gas stations and hopefully our retail establishments. All that money produces tax revenue that the City uses for school, public safety and so much more. Taste of Oakdale is designed to boost those in the food and beverage industry; while Pours in Stores is designed to showcase Downtown as an entertainment district. All of these events create awareness with patrons on what Oakdale businesses have to offer and hopefully result in more business in the future.

Chamber events also create a sense of community. Chamber mixers, ribbon cuttings, leadership programs and our awards dinner offer a spotlight on the citizens and businesses doing good things in our town. Our membership stays connected and is part of developing our local economy and future by participating in a variety of Chamber programs. A strong business community means a strong overall community.

People do not do business with a sign on the outside of a building but with real people. When someone needs something for business or personal use, they turn to those people they developed a personal relationship with. Mixers and the Golf Classic are a great chance to meet others in the business community. It’s an opportunity to learn more about each other and create a sense of community through networking. The Ag Luncheon brings many from the same industry together to share ideas, learn from one another and work towards a common goal..

Another reason the Chamber hosts event is also to generate revue. The Chamber is a non-profit organization that is based on membership. We aren’t affiliated with any governmental agency and the operating costs all come through membership dues and fundraising activity. The proceeds are used for staff salaries, as well as a variety of programs, including a scholarship fund and the Leadership Oakdale program. The Chamber is so much more than our events. We strive to support the business community through advocacy, education and networking. By enhancing the quality of life in Oakdale the Chamber increases the chance of relocating employees and employers to the region. Our events add economic value to the community and enhance the quality life.

A Few “Tricks & Treats”

A message from John Lane, President

As I did with last year’s October article, I wanted to share a few “Tricks and Treats” with you during the Halloween season.

Treat: It was quite a treat to participate in the grand opening of the Oakdale Community Park last month. The park turned out wonderful, the dedication ceremony was emotional, and the day’s activities were fun! The continued daily use of the park has been great to see. Kids and adults of all ages swarm the Jason Turnage Skate Park and the Norm Antinetti Basketball Court, families are picnicking on the grass, kids are climbing on the play structure, and even a few folks are sweating it out on the Coach Jack Walker Par Course. I can’t wait to see more local performances at “The Q” amphitheater!

Trick: The traffic through town may soon be a bit of a nightmare due the upcoming closure of South Yosemite between F and J Streets due to road improvements, not to mention ongoing construction on C Street. However, based upon the already completed improvements around town, I’m sure we’ll be pleased with the results. I will try to be patient and avoid shaking my fist at my fellow drivers! Be careful out there.

Treat: I’ve bought several hundred pieces of candy in anticipation of the parade of ghosts, ghouls, and Disney princesses that will soon be knocking on my door. I still enjoy seeing all the costumes, even though my two princesses are off doing their own things. The Oakdale Recreation Department and the Oakdale Kiwanis Club invite everyone to the free Halloween Parade on October 31st. As it does every year, the parade will start shortly after 4:30 pm from Gilbert Avenue, next to the High School. Don’t forget the free hot dogs afterward at the Community Center.

Treat: The Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Citizen of the Year, Business of the Year, Community Service, and Junior Achievement Awards. Applications are available at the Chamber office or on the Chamber website and are due December 1, 2017.

Trick: What is the trick to electing the right candidate for the OID board? Make sure you are registered, do your homework on what the important issues are in our district, ask the opinions of those you respect, and cast an informed vote!

Treat: The Chamber of Commerce and Femme Bricoleuse invite you to a mixer Thursday, October 19th from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Come on out to meet the business owners and see what this downtown shop is all about. Stay abreast of Chamber mixers and other happenings by becoming a member of the Chamber’s Meetup group at

Trick: Often, small and local businesses find that getting your name out there and being seen is tricky business. In today’s environment, the traditional modes of advertising, such as print and radio spots, don’t seem to be enough. Consider devoting a small portion of your advertising budget to your Chamber membership, and allow the Chamber to be a partner in your outreach efforts. The Chamber’s many events offer opportunities for event sponsorship, such as the Summer Concert in the Park Series, the Chocolate Festival, the Golf Tournament, and many other events, as well as the opportunity to get face time with consumers and other business owners.

I hope you are able to enjoy the end of the fall season without too much trickery. See you around town!


Message from the Chamber President, John Lane

Another August is upon us, so as the students head back to school and the dust settles from the busy summer, we turn our focus to readying our rakes for the fall and getting back to work (did we ever really stop?). The Oakdale Chamber of Commerce remains busy doing what it does, which is helping to create a strong local economy by connecting businesses, engaging the community, and promoting the City of Oakdale.

I’m always interested in reading the Oakdale Chamber referrals in this column every month. Residents and visitors alike tend to think of the local Chamber of Commerce first when seeking information about a community. The Oakdale Chamber fields quite a few phone calls and walk-in inquiries every day regarding a variety of topics: What’s happening in Oakdale? Where is a good place to eat? Where should I stay? What is there to do around here? You got any maps? In addition to calling or visiting the Chamber office, inquiring minds can also visit the Chamber’s website,, which includes a searchable business directory, business resources, a community calendar, a history of the City of Oakdale, relocation information, a visitor’s section with nearby activities, and more. In the next few paragraphs, I would like to highlight a few of the ongoing things the Chamber is doing to fulfill its mission statement.

Concerts in the Park: There are still two weeks left in the free Friday Concert in Park series in Dorada Park, which runs through August. Bring your lawn chair and picnic (no glass is allowed) and enjoy a fun, family-friendly, concert in the park! Music begins at 6:30 p.m. Thank you to our business and individual sponsors!

Taste of Oakdale: The Chamber of Commerce presents the 9th Annual Taste of Oakdale at the Gene Bianchi Community Center on Tuesday, August 29th, from 5 pm to 8 pm. This is always a fun event where you can sample local restaurants, caterers, microbrews, wines, bakery items, and more. You do not necessarily need to be a Chamber member to participate as a vendor, and the Chamber can usually squeeze in last minute participants, so give the Chamber a call and show off what you do best!

Oakdale Chamber Golf Classic: September 11th is the date of the 4th Annual Oakdale Chamber Golf Classic at the Oakdale Golf & Country Club. The tournament is open to all players in a fun, skill-optional, 4-Person Scramble. But you don’t need to sign up as a foursome; any single, pair, or trio can enter and the Chamber will match you up to fill out a foursome. Or, join your golfing friends for dinner after the round and listen to them regale about that long putt that should have gone in except for that one “ball mark” in front of the cup. Yeah, right!

Strategies for Business Success: This is a nine week Monday evening course that starts September 18th; classes are held at the Oakdale Chamber conference room from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm.  This low-cost class is taught by business consultants in conjunction with the Valley Sierra SBDC Small Business Development Center and will touch on business management topics designed to improve the bottom line of your business.

And finally, a thank you to all our members, which include not only large, small, and micro businesses, but also interested individuals. It is always an honor for me, as President of the Chamber, to sign a Certificate of Appreciation to a Member that reaches a milestone year of participation with the Chamber. I recently signed such thank you certificates for Juarez, Zarate & Company, CPA’s (20 years) and Hi-Tech Emergency Vehicle Services, Inc. (30 years). In addition, this being the 100th anniversary of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, I will have the distinct honor of thanking A.L. Gilbert Company for 100 years of membership! I need to get back to work, but I will see you around town!