ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Plans are in place for the 21st Annual Home and Business Expo presented by the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce.
The big event takes place this Friday and Saturday, March 2-3, at the James E. Carnes Center at the new Belmont County Fairgrounds. The expo will bring scores of area businesses under one roof to showcase a wide variety of goods and services, and as always, admission is free.
Friday's hours will be from 1-8 p.m., and Saturday, the expo will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
T-L Photo/ERIC AYRES
THE ST. CLAIRSVILLE Area Chamber of Commerce is ready to kick off the 21st Annual Home and Business Expo this Friday and Saturday at the James E. Carnes Center on the site of the new Belmont County Fairgrounds. Seated, from left, representing sponsors for the event, are Kirke Porterfield of Porterfields Drive-Thru, Shawn Verardi and AAA Ohio Auto Club and Wally McCabe of Tim’s Custom. Standing, from left, representing the expo committee and chamber board, are Chris Orris, manager of the Carnes Center; Alicia Freeman of Premier Bank and Trust; Joe Czuchran of Deluxe Doors; Jess Puglisi-Sanders of Eastern Seals; and Chairman Dean Holtsclaw of Wal-Mart.
In years past the chamber held its popular Home and Business Expo throughout the concourses of the Ohio Valley Mall. Last year, the expo found great success in relocating the event to the Carnes Center, where all the vendors were assembled together under one roof, and all the visitors came specifically to check out the expo.
"We had an excellent turnout for vendors last year - in fact we were sold out as far as space for vendors goes - and we had an excellent turnout for visitors, as well," said Jennifer Woollard, executive director of the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce. "It was wonderful last year, and that's why we were excited to return this year."
When planning last year's expo, chamber officials were unsure how attendance would be at the new location out at the fairgrounds site. However, those concerns were put at ease when more than 1,000 visitors made their way to the Carnes Center during last year's Home and Business Expo.
This year's event promises to expand on last year's success.
"We have a lot of new vendors signed up this year," said Woollard. "We have very limited space left. Spaces are going fast."
New to this year's Home and Business Expo - by popular demand by both vendors and visitors from last year - will be food vending. Food items that will be available this year at the event and will include fair-style favorites such as hamburgers, hot dogs, funnel cakes and other selections, including Lenten menu items. There will also be a special VIP room for vendors - a place where those working the event all day can take a break, grab a cup of coffee and recharge.
There will be an area with tables and chairs this year where attendees can also sit down and relax.
Returning to the Home and Business Expo - also by popular demand - will be antique and collectible appraisals by Renee D. Garcia, certified professional appraiser. Garcia will be on hand to do appraisals on Friday from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. The first 50 appraisals each day will be given for free (one item per person). All appraisals after that will be done for $5 each.
Items being appraised can include American pottery, baseball cards, china, furniture, toys and games, glassware, comic books, Longaberger baskets and accessories and other valuables and collectibles. Appraisals will not be given for original artwork, gemstones or firearms.
Last year's appraisal sessions were a tremendous hit, chamber officials said. Popularity of television shows such as Antiques Road Show and Pawn Stars has help generate an interest in the value of antiques and collectibles, and those who have such items on hand and are curious about their value are encouraged to bring them out to the expo for an appraisal.
"That was unbelievable last year," Dean Holtsclaw, chamber board member and chairman of the Home and Business Expo, said of the addition of the appraisals. "People really enjoyed it."
JACK FM will have a live action broadcast this Friday afternoon from the expo.
The annual Home and Business Expo gives area businesses an opportunity to showcase their many services and goods to the public. There promises to be a number of unique exhibits and displays on hand at this year's expo, chamber officials noted. The event also gives the general public a chance to see first-hand the array of goods and services that are available locally.
"We really have a variety of different vendors this year. There are many vendors ready to help with spring home improvement projects, and many other vendors, too," said Woollard. "Admission is free, so we encourage everyone to come on out and check out all there is to see."
For more information about the 2012 Home and Business Expo, contact the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce at 740-695-9623.
Ayres can be reached at email@example.com.