BELDING — This year’s Belding Community Showcase will once again aim to bring community groups, businesses and the public together for one evening of fun and networking.
From 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, doors will open at Belding High School for the 18th annual showcase, featuring 35 businesses and more than 45 community groups spread throughout the school.
Event organizer Tiffany Jackson said this year’s event — which takes place the second consecutive year to take advantage of the spacious new high school facilities — will follow in similar fashion of last year with representatives and students from the schools, as well as community organizations and businesses, on hand to showcase various activities and projects.
“The community showcase is a great networking opportunity,” Jackson said. “It’s free for the public, there’s food, lots of businesses and community groups to see, and of course, performances by the students. We know that the weather is going to be very good, so we’re hoping to have a lot of people.”
According to Jackson, visitors can enter the school through one of two entrances, depending on which area one would like to visit first.
All business vendors will be housed in the Redskin Arena gymnasium, spread out across the gym floor allowing visitors to browse the various venues from throughout the Belding area. Along the second-story walking track, artwork created by students will be featured on the walls for visitors to peruse as they make the circular trek around the track.
In the school commons area, visitors can browse through the booths of the many community groups that will be featured.
In the Belding Performing Arts Center, shows put on by the students will also serve to entertain as visitors make their way throughout the school.
At 5 p.m., first grade students from Ellis Elementary School will perform their music show “The Little Red Hen.” At 5:30 p.m., students in the Belding Middle School guitar class will play a concert. At 6 p.m., the various choir groups from Belding High School will perform on stage. At 7 p.m., the musical acts will halt momentarily for the Gold Star Awards and Foreign Exchange Student introductions, to be followed by a musical performance by fifth grade students from Woodview Elementary School at 7:15 p.m.
“It’s an exciting night for everybody,” Jackson said. “Just to see all of the great things we have going on in Belding and to see all of the people working to achieve. Our kids are so proud of their ability to showcase their work and their talents. They really make the event a success.”
Jackson said food provided by Chartwells will be available in the commons area of the school throughout the evening. As many as 2,000 to 3,000 visitors are expected to attend this year’s event.
“The layout worked really well last year, so we aren’t changing much,” Jackson said. “We won’t have any vendors in the hallways this year, so hopefully the flow of traffic will be a little less congested this year.”
Belding Chamber of Commerce Ambassador Maria Robertson said she is hoping to see thousands of community members visiting with the many businesses in the Belding community.
“This is a great networking opportunity and a great way to learn about what the Belding businesses and community has to offer,” she said. “Please also stop and visit Metron of Belding for free blood pressure screening and a free spin of wheel prizes.”
Belding Mayor Ron Gunderson also extended his welcome to citizens to come to Thursday’s event.
“It’s a showcase of the community, and is intended to bring everybody together,” he said. “We hope to see you there.”