CUBA CITY, Wis. — For Bridget Wilson, welcoming guests to Cuba City during the holidays is much like throwing a party — an effort that takes creative thinking and collaboration.
That is why the Platteville resident enjoys coordinating the annual Christmas in Cuba City celebration, hosted by the Cuba City Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s making people feel welcomed. It’s making them feel valued and special,” she said.
Wilson and her husband operate Hometown Pharmacy in Cuba City and she began attending chamber meetings in 2014. After three years, she saw the organization’s need for assistance for two annual events — Small Business Saturday and the Cuba City Christmas Glow.
Wilson believed she could help, relying on her knack for organization, hospitality and envisioning the “big picture.”
She aimed to draw attention to the interdependence of the community and local businesses and the power of collaboration.
“People in the community we depend on to shop local,” Wilson said. “And they depend on local businesses to donate and participate in all sorts of things.”
But it took many helping hands to make the events happen on Nov. 30 and Dec. 14, she said. Wilson sought event sponsors and helped delegate tasks among at least 30 volunteers, who oversaw tasks like the distribution of hot chocolate and hot dogs to the supervision of propane warming heaters.
“Everybody does their part and it works out,” she said.
The Christmas Glow event included a bake sale, band performance, Holiday Tour of Lights contest, parade, Tree of Remembrance ceremony and children’s activities.
Cuba City volunteer Donna Rogers, who also is a member of the Chamber along with the Tri-State Tourism Council and City of Presidents Committee, said the community benefits when events draw in tourists.
“If you’ve got activities going on, that really gets them to stop,” she said. “If you can get them to stop, they’ll spend $60 to $100.”
Cuba City Economic Development Director Bob Jones said Wilson’s positive attitude is infectious, which contributes to the success of the events.
“She has the right personality and work ethic that’s really got people to join,” he said. “The community wants to get together and do stuff together.”
In Platteville, Wilson also is active at Community Evangelical Free Church, where she helps oversee the Sunday school and supervises a youth group.
Volunteering occupies a special place in her life, and she encourages others to pitch in.
“It benefits everybody. It can help you feel a part of something. It helps your neighbors,” Wilson said. “Volunteering a little bit can make a big impact.”