There's a lot to celebrate at this year's The Main Event Business & Industry Expo.
Not only will it be the 25th anniversary of the annual business and industry expo sponsored by East Mississippi Business Development Corporation, but also the 125th anniversary of the city's Chamber of Commerce, now known as the EMBDC.
The Main Event is a business and industry expo that not only offers local exhibitors the opportunity to share with the community the goods and services their businesses provide, but also provides the community the opportunity to see the diversity and unique businesses available, said Michelle Thames, who serves as manager of the Chamber of Commerce.
The theme for this year's expo is "All About Town," which, according to organizers, is to encourage participating businesses to exhibit what they feel makes doing business in Meridian special and unique.
"This is a chance to show their favorite things about Meridian’s past, present and vision for the future," said Julie Boles, chairman of this year's business and industry expo.
And to commemorate the Chamber of Commerce's 125th year, the EMBDC will have a booth showcasing memorabilia from the past, including annual reports, promotional pieces, photographs and newsletters.
The expo will kick off today with a preview reception for exhibitors. During the reception, the Hartley D. Peavey Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence will be presented. This annual award honors an inspiring entrepreneur, having the winner selected from nominations submitted by the general public. Nominees must be local individuals who, over a period of time, have used entrepreneurial skills and business expertise to develop living, thriving businesses.
Past award winners have included Abdul Lala, Bud Thompson, Jerry Greene, Rep. Charles Young, Paul Broadhead, Tommy Dulaney, Hardy Graham, Jimmy Alexander, Manny Mitchell, Jacqueline Van Zyverden Hogan, M.L. Waters and Sammie Davidson.
The Main Event has had a yearly average attendance of more than 3,000 people.
"This is an excellent opportunity for businesses to get their name out into the public and let the area know what they do," Boles said.
Indoor, as well as outdoor exhibits will be available for attendees to view and interact with. According to Thames, booth space is still available.
"But they will have to be set up by 4:30 p.m. today," Thames said.
Exhibit awards are presented in four categories: Best of Show, Best of Show-Theme, Best of Show-Small Business and Best of Show-Non-profit. Booths will be judged by non-exhibiting individuals during the preview reception. Awards will be presented during the 9 a.m. opening ceremony Wednesday.
Booths are $225 for EMBDC business members; $325 for non-business members; and $125 for EMBDC non-profit members. For more information, contact Sharon Romano, registration chairman, at the EMBDC, (601) 693-1306.
Want to go?
What: 25th Annual The Main Event Business & Industry Expo
When: Wednesday, from 9 a.m.-
Where: Bonita Lakes Mall in Anchor E (previously Steve & Berry's)
Information: (601) 693-1306 or visit www.embdc.org