The North Port Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the hiring of Emily Shaw as the new membership coordinator.

Emily spent most of her life in Maryland where she raised two amazing sons, Zach, 29, and Taylor 27.

Emily graduated from Shepherd University and spent most of her career in Maryland in outside sales. She has lived the past six years in Florida and has worked the past three years as the community outreach coordinator for Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County, and was very active and involved in chamber events and functions.

As our new membership coordinator, Emily will focus on working with our current members, introduce and promote the chamber to businesses and organizations in North Port and our surrounding communities, and assist businesses and organizations as they struggle with the COVID-19 situation.

Please join us as we welcome Emily to the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce.


Recognizing that the hurricane season has started early with the forming of Tropical Storm Arthur and the rainy season just around the corner, we are selling 60-inch coverage Firm Grip golf umbrellas for $10. The umbrellas come in black and white, and will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis while they last at the Chamber office, 1337 N. Sumter Blvd., North Port, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. They make great Father’s Day gifts.


The city of North Port invites the community to unite and enjoy a special Fireworks-only display for Independence Day. To adhere to CDC guidelines, the plan for the annual Freedom Festival, presented by American Irrigation, has been amended to a drive-in fireworks show that will be launched from the North Port High School site used in previous years. Attendees will be invited to park in the lots at NPHS, Heron Creek Middle School and at Butler Park. Parking will open at 8 p.m. to accommodate the start of the show at 9 p.m. Attendees can enjoy the music for the show on WKDW 97.5 FM. The display is expected to end around 9:30 p.m.

Although it is uncertain what physical distancing and sanitation protocols will still be in effect at that time, the following safety precautions are currently planned:

• Attendees will be asked to park in every other parking space.

• No tailgating, alcohol, personal fireworks or sparklers will be permitted.

• The NPHS stadium, and all green spaces surrounding the three parking areas, will remain closed to public gatherings.

• The festival vendors and activities that encourage gathering will be canceled.

• Restroom and hand-washing facilities will be available at all three parking lots.

• To view the fireworks display from home, visit


We’ll host a Live Facebook “Coffee with the Docs” with Dr. Lee Gross and Dr. William Crouch of Epiphany Health on the Chamber’s Facebook page at 8 a.m. May 22 to discuss the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak. Dr. Gross and Dr. Crouch are very knowledgeable on the coronavirus, and are frequently in contact with the White House and the State Capital. They will provide the latest updates and will share their expertise knowledge on this issue. Chamber members and the public can ask questions during the show by submitting questions in the “Comment Box” on the Chamber’s Facebook page, or e-mailing them to


We would like to welcome Awaken Church and North Port Symphony as new members of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce.

Bill Gunnin is executive director of the North Port Area Chamber of Commerce and can be reached at 941-564-3040 or, or visit


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