The commemorative brochure for the chamber’s 75th anniversary features a night photo of the famous round Fickes and Fickes building taken by Beacon Media photographer Terry Miller in 2003. The 1960’s iconic building is perhaps the most identifiable structure built in Arcadia to date.
As the hundreds of guests arrived for the party last Thursday evening, Carol Libby and Chamber President Kevin Kimmerman unveiled yet another Historical Marker in front of the building. Scott Hettrick gave a detailed description of the history of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce prior to the unveiling with several amusing sidebars on some of the colorful characters that help shape the face of Arcadia.
One of the special guests at the event was television host Wink Martindale, who also just happens to have turned 75 and was originally from Arcadia. Martindale’s first break into television was at WHBQ-TV in Memphis, as the host of Mars Patrol, a science-fiction themed children’s television program.
It was at his tenure with WHBQ that Martindale became the host of the TV show Teenage Dance Party where his friend Elvis Presley made an appearance. Following Presley’s death in 1977, Martindale aired a nationwide tribute radio special in his honor.
Martindale has hosted numerous game shows, including What’s This Song?, Gambit, Headline Chasers, High Rollers, The Last Word, Great Getaway Game, Trivial Pursuit, Shuffle, Boggle, Jumble, Debt, and most famously Tic-Tac-Dough. In addition, he was the creator of Bumper Stumpers. As of today, he is the second television personality to have hosted 15 game shows, behind fellow veteran game show host, Bill Cullen, who had hosted 23.
After the speeches and accolades from numerous state and local official representatives including a personal appearance from State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, guests were invited in for birthday cake and a world class barbeque at the hands of Lee Shimmin, wearing his trademark cowboy hat. Shimmin was Chamber President in the year 2000.
The smoke filled pit at the Chamber added to the festive atmosphere on an exceptionally warm summer evening. As Lee Shimmin and his able assistants grilled up hamburgers and hot dogs, the line grew forever long as word of the mouthwatering BBQ spread as quickly as the charbroiled smoke.
Executive Director Beth Costanza and her staff did an exceptional job keeping the wine glasses filled and the party going strong.
By Terry Miller