Topanga Chamber of Commerce at 70

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For 70 years the Topanga Chamber of Commerce hasn’t missed a beat.

To celebrate, they threw a holiday party at the Mountain Mermaid on Saturday night December 15, to make merry with local businesses and entrepreneurs who give so much to the community.

Tonight was a time to let loose and enjoy the music, a trio of 20-somethings rocking out with familiar tunes, while guests mingled and a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres made their way around the room.

Long-time realtor Chryssa Lightheart, shouting above the music, said, “I think this is a fun band, a little loud maybe, but fun and such a romantic venue. There are so many connections here and it’s great to come together with all the other business owners after the fire scare. I just love the small town feel of Topanga, the community.”

Brooks Ellis, who organized this event, is the Chamber’s Events Chair and at 29, the youngest member. He is also co-founder of Label 27, an events and production company that has been bringing unique musical experiences to audiences across genres since 2009, starting with the Reggae on The Mountain festival.

“The Chamber is just a wonderful organization”, said Ellis, “I’m really honored to be a part of it. I grew up here and I really love it and I try to give back however I can”.

Lots of people were up and dancing through the night. I had a chat with psychologist Geraldine Flaxman who has a family practice here in the Canyon. We talked about kids, parents, psychology, psychiatry, and the distinct difference between the two.

“What a lot of kids really need these days,” she said, “is for their parents to just take parenting classes!”

A surprise encounter with Curtis Hein of Suncoast Mortgage, started a fascinating conversation about our mutual interest in scriptwriting.

Tom Mitchell told stories of how the Topanga Messenger started from its humble beginnings in 1976, and the art, labor and love that went into printing a paper “in the old days.”

“Cutting and stripping the images, hanging them in the dark room, printing it all out on rolls. Man, these days, with everything digital, this young generation just doesn’t appreciate the time it used to take to make these things happen! One time, in the ‘80s when Topanga flooded, we had to carry everything into the publishers house up on Fernwood and there we all were with candles in the bathroom, turning it into our darkroom, cutting and stripping the last images down to fit in with the text so we could get the Messenger out by the deadline! Man, it was wild!”

The evening wore on and a table full of meringues and other edible temptations were calling. By the time the chef was sharing the recipe for the Butternut and Apple soup, it was already ten o’clock and guests were on their way home.

It was a rollicking party for sure with about sixty to seventy people all happy to be there, happy to be a part of Topanga and happy to be serving you as the Topanga Chamber of Commerce.


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