U of O Winter Games Apparel is LIVE!

The countdown is on for University of Okoboji Winter Games 41!

Get your gear for this year’s celebration. Apparel is now available for purchase online at www.uofowintergames.com/wgapparel/

Clothing will soon be available in person. Stay tuned on Facebook or sign up for our email list to get live updates on apparel locations and more!

Make sure your calendars are marked for January 28-31, 2021 for the 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games. Check our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UofOWinterGames for updates on all things Winter Games related!

Please contact Kiley at kiley@okobojichamber.com or 712-332-2107 with any questions.

2021 UofO Winter Games Chairs Announced!

Announcing the 2021 University of Okoboji Winter Games Chair and Co-Chair!
The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the Chair & Co-Chair of the 41st Annual University of Okoboji Winter Games scheduled for January 28-31, 2021.

The Chair of the 41st Annual Winter Games is John Hight. John is a civil engineer for Beck Engineering, Inc in Spirit Lake. John, his wife Jaclyn, and two sons reside in Spirit Lake. John is a 2005 graduate of Spirit Lake High school, and is always looking for ways to give back to the community that he grew up in.

He is a board member and past president of Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis. John has spent time volunteer coaching youth football and wrestling, and often speaks to middle school and high school students about the importance of STEM professions. When John isn’t busy working or volunteering, he loves spending time with family and socializing with friends while enjoying everything the Iowa Great Lakes has to offer.

Over the years, John has been active in Winter Games in various ways. He has been a spectator, participant, volunteer, was elected as a cheerleader in 2018, co-chair in 2020, and is now looking forward to being chair. He is excited to represent this great community, the IGLA Chamber, and the University of Okoboji in the upcoming 41st edition of this amazing event!

Co-Chair this year is Dr. Mara Groom. Dr. Groom is a family medicine physician at Lakes Regional Healthcare. She made the lakes area her home 5 years ago and after growing up in a military family she couldn’t imagine finding a better community to lay down roots. Dr. Groom was president of Spirit Lake Noon Kiwanis club for the 2019-2020 term. She enjoys talking to high school and college students about careers in health care. She is on the board of the Iowa Academy of Family Physicians.

She and her significant other Cale live in Milford with their dogs, Stella and Otis. When she isn’t busy delivering babies and caring for patients, she enjoys all the amenities that the Iowa Great Lakes has to offer. Mara has enjoyed Winter Games every year since moving here and is a past Keg Toss champion! She is excited to represent the community, the IGL Chamber, and the University of Okoboji in the 41st Winter Games!

John and Mara are looking forward to the preparation ahead for our awesome winter tradition, and they are ready to make this year the best yet!

To get involved in the University of Okoboji Winter Games, please contact Kiley Zankowski at the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber: kiley@okobojichamber.com or 712-332-2107.

Annual Meeting & Business Award Nominations

The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting is going to look a lot different this year. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber has decided to switch their Annual Meeting to an entirely virtual format. This FREE virtual event will highlight the many successes that the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber and its members had over the last year and will be featured on their Facebook page early December.

Twenty-twenty brought its challenges to our local business community and the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber, but there are many successes that we would still like to celebrate. An entirely new aspect to the event has been created for the 2020 Annual Meeting to highlight local businesses who went above and beyond in the last year. The Chamber is seeking nominations for the following awards: Large Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, Social Media Superstar, and Member of the Year. Nominees must be current Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber members. Nominations will be open on the Chamber website from Wednesday, October 21st to Friday, October 30th and voting will be open from Sunday, November 1st to Sunday, November 8th. For more information on nomination requirements visit www.okobojichamber.com.

Stay tuned for more details on a date and time for this year’s virtual Annual Meeting. For more information on the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber and their upcoming Annual Meeting & Awards Banquet, please contact the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 712-332-2107 or by email at kiley@okobojichamber.com. Be sure to follow the Chamber on social media at facebook.com/okobojichamber and instagram.com/okobojichamber.

National Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day

2020 brought challenges to businesses all over the world, including The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and the businesses and communities we serve. In an effort to respond quickly to the needs of our community, the Chamber has worked tirelessly to become a “go-to” resource for not only our member businesses but also our community. We created a COVID-19 Facebook Group to provide restaurant service updates, added a dedicated COVID-19 page on the Chamber website with local and state resource information, delivered gift cards to struggling businesses as part of the Fareway Gift Card program grant, and launched two dedicated social media campaigns – #RememberaMember and #SupportLocalBoji – to encourage community members to visit and support Chamber Member businesses.

As our community moves forward in these uncertain times, the Chamber will continue to support and advocate for our Members through referrals for your business, marketing and visibility opportunities, and of course networking opportunities as allowed. Your membership and your sponsorships enable our team to continue to work to meet the needs of the Iowa Great Lakes Area business community. Show your support on October 21, 2020, and every day, by continuing your membership investment and encouraging other businesses to join the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.

Together we are stronger!

30 Days to Shopping Small

The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce (IGLA) has announced a new initiative in advance of the nationwide Small Business Saturday® holiday on Saturday, November 28, 2020. Beginning Thursday, October 28, 2020, the IGLA Chamber will launch “30 Days to Shopping Small” to promote local businesses and encourage the community to shop local this holiday season.

On each of the thirty days leading up to Small Business Saturday®, the IGLA Chamber will promote local businesses through social media, including video features of various locations where you can shop, eat, and support local business.

On Saturday, November 28, 2020, the official Small Business Saturday® nationwide holiday, members of the Chamber staff will be out in the community surprising random shoppers with gifts and prizes.

“You might not realize it, but every time you buy a coffee at your favorite neighborhood diner or purchase a gift from the local gift store down the street, you’re shopping small and making a difference” said Kiley Zankowski, Director of Membership and Events at the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce. “When you shop at local businesses, you support all the things that make the Iowa Great Lakes Area great.”

Shoppers are encouraged to visit okobojichamber.com to discover all of the area’s retail shopping locations, as well as shopsmall.com to find other local merchants that are participating in the Small Business Saturday® campaign.

Businesses who are interested in participating in “30 Days to Shopping Small” can contact the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce at 712-312-2107 or by email at kiley@okobojichamber.com.

Be sure to follow the Chamber on social media at facebook.com/okobojichamber and instagram.com/okobojichamber.



November 28th is the eleventh annual Small Business Saturday®, proudly backed by American Express. Dedicated to supporting the diverse range of local businesses that create jobs, help boost the economy, and enhance neighborhoods around the country, Small Business Saturday® was created by American Express in 2010 in response to small business owners’ most pressing need: getting more customers. Learn more at ShopSmall.com, instagram.com/shopsmall, facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday.



Shop Small is a nationwide movement to support small, independent businesses and call attention to the valuable and distinct contributions they make to their communities and the economy. Shop Small celebrates small businesses ranging from retail stores and restaurants to fitness studios and salons, and everything in between. The Shop Small movement was spurred by the widespread participation in Small Business Saturday, a day founded in 2010 by American Express. This national holiday shopping tradition is dedicated to celebrating small businesses and driving more customers through their doors on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. November 28, 2020 marks the eleventh annual Small Business Saturday®, proudly backed by American Express.

October Chamber Minute

Did you catch us this morning on KUOO Campus Radio for the monthly IGLA Chamber Update with Hy-Vee?

We introduced Joseph Prouty, the new Store Director at Spirit Lake Hy-Vee. He told us a bit about their upcoming events and updates at the store.

Blain then talked about a few updates from the Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber, including some event cancellations and the switching of our Annual Meeting to an entirely virtual event.

Click Here to listen for yourself and catch up now!

Fall Festival 2020 Update

Iowa Great Lakes Area Fall Festival Cancellation

The Iowa Great Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce made the difficult decision to postpone the upcoming Fall Festival scheduled for Saturday, October 17, 2020.

As with all of our events, we want the event to be a success not only for our members but also our community. Unfortunately, circumstances will not allow that this year. The Fall Festival is an event we hope to continue in the future, and we are looking forward to next year! We hope we can bring back a successful and fun event for both families and businesses to enjoy in 2021.

For more information, or for additional questions, please contact Kiley Zankowski, Director of Membership and Events, at 712-332-3207 or kiley@okobojichamber.com.

September Chamber Minute

Did you catch us this morning on KUOO Campus Radio for the monthly IGLA Chamber Update?

Blain shared some details on the upcoming University of Okoboji Oktoberfest. Early bird registration closes tomorrow, so make sure to sign up today at www.uofooktoberfest.com! So many events for you and you friends and family to enjoy from the bike ride in the morning to the vendor show in the afternoon and the various tournaments. There’s a full day of events scheduled, so make sure to sign up and join the fun Saturday, September 26th.

He also announced the revival of the Iowa Great Lakes Fall Festival. The event will be held at Camp Foster on Saturday, October 17th from 10am to 2pm. The day will be filled with hay rides, games, and activities for kids and families to enjoy. For more information call the Chamber office at 712-332-2107 or visit www.okobojichamber.com.

Click Here to catch up now!

Welcome New Member! – Cottage Gardens

Welcome New Member: Cottage Gardens! We’re glad to have you as a member and look forward to partnering with you!

Cottage Gardens was established in 1998 with a hobby-sized greenhouse and has continued to grow in size, experience and satisfied customers.

Their plant selection has grown from annuals and garden vegetables to include herbs, perennials and ornamental shrubs. They feature beautiful hanging baskets and a wide variety of colorful containers as well as garden accessories and yardscaping services.

Stop in today and check out their great selection!

805 21st St
Milford, IA 51351

G.O.L.F. 2020 – That’s a Wrap!

We had such a blast at Okoboji View Golf Course last Friday for our 2020 Great Okoboji Lakes Finale (G.O.L.F.) Tournament! 🤩

120 golfers, 73 sponsors, and endless amounts of laughter. We are already counting down the days until next year’s event!! ⛳️ Thank you to all who attended, sponsored, and volunteered!

Head over to our Facebook page to see a full album of pictures and a wrap up video!


Congratulations to our winning teams!

First Flight: 1st Place – Okoboji View, 2nd Place – Atlantic Bottling, 3rd Place – Dry Dock

Second Flight: 1st Place – Liberty National Bank, 2nd Place – Ben Brant Construction, 3rd Place – Team Billdoh

Third Flight: 1st Place – Team Cabinutz, 2nd Place – F45 Fitness, 3rd Place – No Streaking Okoboji