Community EXPO a success with more visitors than ever

They couldn’t give the money away fast enough

THESE KIDS AREN’T SCARED—of this fireman in full gear. Others had a varied reaction to several mascots who worked the EXPO.

THESE KIDS AREN’T SCARED—of this fireman in full gear. Others had a varied reaction to several mascots who worked the EXPO.

The lesson for next year: stay longer. As the Rockford Community EXPO 2009 wound down, local celebrity Juliet Dragos couldn’t give the $500 door prizes away fast enough. “Must be present to win” was the key phrase as name after name was called with no takers.

At quarter to closing time, the call “come to the stage, you are the winner” was starting to sound a little comical. Two prizes remained unclaimed, a cool grand for two different people… still there.

It wasn’t for lack of visitors. According to Brenda Davis, Rockford Chamber executive director, the turnout was even higher than last year’s 11,000. Except for the cash prizes, no one was having any trouble giving things away. Several food vendors ran out early, with the Corner Bar going the distance with samples of white chicken chili.

Corner Bar owner Andy Tidey said, “There is only so much chili two people can scoop into cups in six hours.” He said the restaurant gave out 45 gallons of chili, or the equivalent of 1,700 servings.

“It’s great exposure for us. There are a lot of people who don’t know we have that every day,” he stated.

Firefighters at Rockford EXPO

Firefighters at Rockford EXPO

“We are always busy the entire six hours with a line going around the corner, so it didn’t make any difference for us. We could have been the only food or one of 12 vendors.”

Dr. Michael Shibler, Superintendent of Rockford Schools, said the event was again a tremendous success and a win-win for the community.

“It’s held here in a building built with our tax dollars. The entertainment is by students from all ages of our district, who are also products of this community,” he said. “For many people who come here, this is the first time they’ve been in this building. They can see first-hand how their tax
dollars are spent.”

See you at next year’s EXPO-and don’t leave early.

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