Expo plans to host 200-plus businesses

MILFORD – There are still seven weeks to go
before the annual Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce Expo, but already more than 80 businesses have signed up to participate and the Chamber’s Executive Director Tracy Hutchins fully expects to hit the magic 200 number.

The Chamber cracked that ceiling last year and given the success the 2013 Expo enjoyed, Hutchins sees no reason it won’t happen again.

And again this year, the Expo will be much more than a meet-and-greet with businesses. It will be a family event, one that Hutchins is convinced will have something for everyone, from toddlers to grandparents.

That’s one of the reasons the Expo is being held on a Saturday (Oct. 18) after many years as a Thursday event.

“We thought that by moving it to a Saturday, we would make the event more convenient for people to attend,” Hutchins told The Cabinet recently. “We are trying to make it more of a family friendly event and if families are looking for something fun to do, they can certainly come to the Expo.”

The Expo’s home has been the Hampshire Dome at Hampshire Hills Sports and Fitness Club on Emerson Road in Milford, but this year, it will actually spill out of the Dome.

“We will have many restaurants participating,” Hutchins said. “We always have a great showing from them and this year, we’ve added outdoor vending – we’ll have a few restaurants outside.”

This year, the Expo will run for seven hours instead of six, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., so Hutchins believes many visitors will be interested in lunch, thus the outside spots. But the Expo always has food inside, including some sampling booths.

“We have a lot of returning vendors,” she said, “but we are attracting some new vendors from outside the Souhegan Valley. And we plan to have some booths that are more demonstration-type, so there’s going to be a lot going on.”

That will include main stage entertainment all day, although Chamber officials are still firming up the entertainers.

“There’s going to be great entertainment all day long,” Hutchins promised.

For younger kids, there will be bouncy houses, face painting, and several booths just for kids.

“If parents want to come and look around, they can park their children there and have the opportunity to speak to different vendors,” she said.

The Expo committee is still looking for vendors but the available booth space starts to go quickly as summer comes to a close, so businesses that are interested should contact Hutchins at 673-4360.