By Kristi Parker Johnson

Harker Heights Herald

Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce implements fresh ideas and builds on old ones as it prepares for the beginning of the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

A 5-kilometer race and Leadership Harker Heights program are new additions to the Chamber's list of sponsored activities, while established events, like the upcoming food and wine festival, are growing and changing.

"Home brews" have been added to the festival lineup this year, said Chamber president Bill Koslik.

"Not everybody drinks wine, so we added beer," Kozlik said.

The outdoor festival, scheduled from 3 to 9 p.m. Sept. 8 at Harker Heights Community Park on Farm-to-Market 2410, also will feature at least nine wineries from around Texas, 18 or 19 food vendors, 21 crafts booths, a cigar booth, a hot-dog-eating contest and live music.

Last year, 1,300 people attended the event, and Koslik expects even more this year.

"We printed 2,000 tickets this year," he said. "Last year we printed 1,200 and sold out of everyone of them."

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door and include unlimited food, wine and beer "tastings."

The addition of the 5k is part of "building and growing the wine festival" and getting children involved, Koslik said.

A fun race, free for runners age 11 and younger, begins at 8:45 a.m. at the community park. The 5k starts at 8 a.m. The entry fee is $20 before Sept. 5, $25 after Sept. 5, and runners receive a T-shirt.

Part of the proceeds from the 5k and festival will be donated to the city's parks and recreation department, according to Kozlik.

The first class of Leadership Harker Heights begins in January, and the Chamber hopes to begin the application process soon. The seven-month program is open to anyone in the community who has an interest in becoming a community leader. Kozlik said the Chamber will choose 25-30 people to participate.

"What you do is try to mold young people into knowing what's going in the community so they can assume those leadership roles," he said. "You've got to have movers and shakers. My hope is with leadership we'll be able to form a young professionals group."

Other events sponsored by the Chamber in the coming year include monthly Coffee Connections networking meetings, Better Business workshops and after-hours mixers, an annual banquet Oct. 15 and a golf tournament in June.

For more information about Chamber events and programs, call (254) 699-4999.

Contact Kristi Johnson at or (254) 501-7548

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