Greenville Area Community Expo a success

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 7:58 pm on Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Local businesses lined the walls of the Pavilion at Klackle Orchards on Tuesday night as area residents sampled various products and foods at the Greenville Area Community Expo. (Daily News/Cory Smith)

GREENVILLE — The Greenville Area Community Expo (GRACE) drew about 1,000 people to the Pavilion at Klackle Orchards on Tuesday.
The chamber sold out of spots for vendors, having about 70 there for the community to experience. The new events were also a hit.
“We have had a good response,” said Candy Kerschen, executive director of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce.
She said many people stopped to watch previews for the Spectrum of Stars, healthy cooking and ATA Integrity Martial Arts demonstrations.
Demonstrations such as the driving while intoxicated simulator, the Oakfield Township Fire Department smoke house and a presentation from the Spectrum Health United Lifestyles on blood alcohol also were a hit.
“This is our first time here and it went very well,” said Jacki Scholtens of United Lifestyles. “There was a lot of interest.”
The presentation showed how alcohol affects a person’s blood level. She said most people do not realize how much a couple of drinks can affect how a person drives and how long they should wait before driving.
“Many people were surprised,” Scholtens said.
The booth had a course set up outside for people to test drive a golf cart to show how bad they actually do when driving drunk.
“People are surprised about how poorly they do,” said Norma Sower of United Lifestyles. “Here they have drunk eyes and a sober mind. That’s not the case in real life.”
Kerschen said the community members who attended spent pretty equal time at the vendors and the new events.
Sue Berry, who attended the expo for the second time, brought her daughter, Jennifer Vogel, for the first time to the GRACE.
“We like talking with the vendors,” Berry said.
Berry added they have run into people at the vendors they knew and it was fun to see them there.
Dana and Bob Outman have been coming to the expo every year and agreed it is nice talking with vendors.
“We come to see a lot of people we know,” Dana Outman said. “It’s interesting.”
They said they enjoyed the new events such as the stage and activities, but wished more food vendors were there.
“There aren’t as many this year,” Dana Outman said.
The Turk Lake Bar had samples of its beef sandwiches. Tom Smith, tavern manager, said he was also surprised there were only a few food booths at this year’s expo.
“This is an opportunity for local restaurants to get out and show what they got,” he said. “I look forward to this.”
This year was the tavern’s second time participating in the expo, but Smith said he really enjoyed it last year and plans to keep doing for years to come.
As of 7 p.m., Kerschen said donations to Montcalm Community College for local food pantries were going strong.

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