By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN A new computer system and a vacation package are two of the grand prizes organizers have secured for this year’s Delano Area Chamber of Commerce expo.
Set for Saturday, March 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Delano High School’s Tiger Activity Center, the expo is meant to give exposure to local businesses to the community as a whole, according to expo chairman Daryl MacLean of the chamber’s business development committee.
“It is really an opportunity for citizens to learn about the area businesses,” he said.
A number of local non-profit organizations also have a presence at the expo.
“One of the newest non-profits is the Special Olympics organization,” MacLean said, adding that the group wants to raise local awareness about a Special Olympics team at Delano Public Schools that is available for local youth.
A new feature of the 2012 expo will be a passport that encourages people to visit all of the expo’s gold and platinum sponsors, along with five additional booths of their choice.
“The idea is from the Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture and the Old-Fashioned Christmas in Downtown Delano event,” MacLean said, explaining the chamber has put its own spin on the passport fun.
“It’s specifically designed to bring extra value to our sponsors by encouraging people to visit their booths,” he said.
All persons who come to the expo will receive a passport when they enter the Tiger Activity Center, MacLean said. From there, it is up to people who want to participate to find the booths that are required to be visited.
Once passport cards are completed, they need to be turned in to the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s booth at the expo by 12:30 p.m. The winner of the prizes will be announced shortly after that time.
MacLean said the grand prize will be a computer system donated by Cyber Geeks. A vacation package from Alta Vista Vacations, among other prizes, will also be given out.
Other things to watch for at this year’s expo include a family-centered fun area, hosted by Crow River Bank, which will include a bounce house, baseball activities, and an area for children to color while waiting to enter the bounce house. The bank will also have a popcorn machine and will be giving out popcorn to those in attendance.
Delano Area Chamber of Commerce Management Assistant Kim Larson said local face painter Tamra Kowalski will be available in the same area.
Larson said some new booths at the expo this year will include Home Depot and the Wayzata Children’s Clinic, which will be opening an office in the newly-remodeled Ridgeview Medical Center in Delano in August.
Larson said the expo will also be the place for those looking to do spring remodeling projects, as a number of vendors will be on-hand showcasing things like windows, new flooring options, and gardening information.
Food options will also be provided, as have been available in the past, with some new delicacies available this year.
This year’s expo platinum sponsors are American Family Insurance the Alex Roeser Agency, Crow River Bank, and Shock City/Verizon Wireless.
Gold sponsors are Alta Vista Vacations, Bagy Jo, Coborn’s, Cyber Geeks, Frontier Communications, Herald Journal, Kickin’ Nutrition, MacLean Law Office, and Ridgeview Medical Center.
The 2012 expo committee includes MacLean of MacLean Law Office, Nikki Kirschner of Shock City/Verizon Wireless, Ann Latterelle, a financial advisor/Princor registered representative, Rayme Bernick of Stahlke Bus Service, Bruce Johnson of Herald Journal, Sabrina Stevens of Bagy Jo, Greg Elstad of My Marketing Guy, and Kristin Nelson of My BodyShop Fitness Center.
“This doesn’t happen unless we get the help of volunteers,” MacLean said, recognizing groups like Youth As Resources (YAR), the National Honor Society and student council, and other dedicated chamber members who work at the expo.
More than 1,000 people attended the 2011 expo. As in the past, the expo has no admission fee.
For more information about the 2012 expo or to inquire about booth space, contact Larson at (763) 972-6756, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.delanochamber.com.