The 25th annual expo will be Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Tiger Activity Center
By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN The first Delano business expo, which took place May 5, 1990, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., had 52 exhibitors, featured a grand prize giveaway of a BBQ gas grill, and brought the KARE11 Health Fair to town.
Twenty-five years later, organizers with the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce (DACC) continue to provide an event that showcases the businesses and organizations of the community to the community. This year’s event will take place Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Tiger Activity Center, located at Delano High School.
The first two expos (1990 and 1991) took place in the “new” Delano Area Sports Arena, according to DACC Executive Director Jean Kopp. In 1993, the expo moved to the “old gym” and middle school areas of Delano Public Schools, and, in 2003, the expo was moved to its present home at the Delano High School’s Tiger Activity Center.
“The highest number of exhibitors was in 2010 when there were 86,” Kopp said. “The average over the past three years has been 80 exhibitors.”
Arts and crafts vendors were included in the initial expos, she added.
“At some point, that was discontinued, but the expo committees of the past few years have tried to renew interest in adding a craft boutique section again as the expo continues to expand,” Kopp said.
An experienced expo committee works like a well-oiled machine to produce the annual event.
This year’s committee consists of longtime committee chairman Daryl MacLean, Sabrina Stevens, Nikki Krawczyk, Ann Latterelle, Andrea MacLean, and Adam Kleve.
“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.
Over the years, a rising number of exhibitors has seen the expo go from utilizing 1/8th of the Tiger Activity Center to using more than half of it. Attendance averages at the expo over the past five years range from 850 to more than 1,000 people.
“It is really an opportunity for citizens to learn about the area businesses,” MacLean said. A number of local non-profit organizations also have a presence at the expo.
Expo sponsors have also become a large part of making the event happen year after year. This year’s platinum sponsors are Bauman Financial Group, Verizon Wireless - Shock City Cellular, and Chevrolet of Delano/Star West Motorsports.
Gold Sponsors are Lloyd Griep State Farm Insurance, Coborn’s, Bagy Jo - DRV, MacLean Law Office, Dojo Karate - Buffalo, CleanSpace, Caliber Home Loans, and DLG Restorations.