Newcomers break out of their shells (video)

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

May 9, 2013 at 12:09 a.m.
Updated May 10, 2013 at 12:10 a.m.

When she first broke the news to her Austin friends that she was moving to Victoria, they all thought she had gone insane.

"Everybody thought I was crazy," said former Austin resident Ashley Bergeron. "They still do."

Bergeron and her husband, Jeff, sipped on wine outside The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar at the Victoria Chamber of Commerce's first Newcomers Social for folks unfamiliar with what the community has to offer.

The 25-year-old Victoria College academic adviser moved to Victoria in July after her husband, Jeff Bergeron, 27, got a job as a Lutheran priest in the city.

The Newcomers event was the first of its kind for the chamber, said Amy Mundy, chairwoman of the Newcomers Committee.

Committee member Sara Hounshell called out the raffle winners for prizes, including Victoria Bach Festival tickets and H-E-B grocery store goody bags.

"It took me a year after I moved here to get comfortable," Hounshell said.

The Texas Zoo, the Museum of the Coastal Bend, the Victoria Generals, the Nave Museum and the Victoria Symphony were among the several organizations that donated raffle prizes for the newcomers event.

Wearing a stylish black vest over a knit gray shirt, 28-year-old Marion Pegues chatted away with other event attendees.

The Sam's Club manager moved to Victoria from San Marcos about eight months ago.

The tranquility, friendliness and accessibility Victoria has to offer in comparison to larger cities are what Pegues said he enjoys the most.

"I met all my neighbors the first day I moved here," Pegues said. "It's rare to be able to get an outdoor and city life experience all rolled into one."

Twenty-two newcomers attended the event before it ended at 7 p.m., Mundy said.

"We really didn't know how many people were going to show up," Mundy said. "It was a really diverse group, and I think as we have these regularly, I think the businesses will start letting their employees know about it."



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