Colleen Carey, Executive Director
Colleen Carey, the Executive Director of the Kingston Chamber of Commerce probably feels possessed with a sense of déjà vu when she speaks with a group of Kingston Rotarians.  It is not just that she grew up in the community and has been a Chamber Executive for seven years. It is not just that she works so closely with many Rotarians on numerous community efforts.  It is not even that it might be just another annual presentation at another lunch meeting with a sense that, “Did I already tell them this?” The reality is that Colleen directs a Chamber that is always striving to create new innovative ways to make Kingston interesting for those who live and visit our community.  Her efforts are recognized and appreciated.

The numbers tell a part of the story.  Carey shared that of the 240 Chamber members, over 50 percent are home-based businesses giving the operation a home-town feel.  Despite that, the reality is that five million people a year ride the Washington State Ferries making it the number one tourist attraction in the State.  With Kingston being a major location in the system we have opportunities to demonstrate our vitality.  Last year, five thousand people visited our visitor center that is a part of the Chamber facility.  Carey shared that while some believe visitor centers are obsolete because of smart phones, she believes more visitors are locating and wanting to get local information and perspective on area attractions from visitor center staff.  Likewise, the Chamber has successfully applied for and received thirty thousand dollars in Lodging Tax revenue to fund their program.
A large part of the Chamber program involves Kingston area events.  There is a long list of events that the Chamber sponsors or co-sponsors.  To name just a few, the Kingston Cove Almost Summer Festival, the Fourth of July Festival and Parade, Pie in the Park, and Lights in the Park are all popular with locals and tourists.  To assist with planning the Almost Summer Festival and the Fourth of July activities, the Chamber is presently seeking to hire a director.  In addition, two contests have been initiated to insure that people thoroughly explore Kingston.  One is the Kingston Trivia Game and the other is aimed at those who cannot get enough of Big Rocking Chairs. 
Finally, the Chamber recognizes that the whole community’s efforts are needed to make Kingston the interesting and beautiful place it is.  The Community Flower Baskets and the Holiday Swags are a wonderful reminder of that.  Likewise, the upcoming December 1, Holiday Lighting Festival and activities demonstrate a true community holiday spirit.  The Chamber is but a part of what makes Kingston much more than just interesting.  But it is a very important part.