BELDING — The halls of Belding High School were filled with members of the public Thursday, celebrating the successes of the community and learning more about local businesses and organizations.
Hallways were decked with artwork students made specifically to display during the showcase. Middle school and elementary school students were performing in the auditorium. People were walking about excitedly, talking with each other.
Thursday’s Belding Community Showcase saw a turnout higher than previous years. The event marked the 20th year citizens come together to learn more about local businesses and organizations in their community.
“It’s a great turnout this year,” Mayor Ron Gunderson said. “With the plays going on and with students bringing their grandparents, they seem to be interested in the actual showcase and they aren’t just coming in and leaving.”
There were more than 30 local businesses with tables at the showcase and citizens made their way through the halls to talk to businesses and look at the different art and school projects distributed throughout. In addition to the businesses and organizations with booths, area home businesses got the chance to set up and sell their wares.
“You see everybody you know. It’s a great thing,” said Belding resident John Bush, who’s been attending the showcase for the last four or five years.
A new feature attendees enjoyed this year were vouchers for meals, and snack stations were sprinkled in at various points in the school. Participants were also given punch cards for participating vendors to stamp, which put them in a drawing for door prizes at the end of the evening.
Gold Star award winners were announced at the end of the evening. The winner for resident was Christina Dombrowski, a high school teacher. The winner for business was the Belding Youth Clinic.
Dombrowski was nominated for the award because of the various ways she “puts others ahead of herself in every possible situation,” Belding High School Principal Brett Zuver said.
“She is a fantastic teacher, always coming in early and staying as late as she needs and helping any student in any way possible,” he said.
Dombrowski also teaches in the Adult Education program and is an active volunteer throughout the school district and the community.
On display at the showcase was an interactive topographical map that was built by the school district’s technology department. Belding Middle School Principal Wayne Pierce was there to explain the way the map works and to demonstrate how the map can show the effects erosion, precipitation and other various things.
“It gives the chance to see and touch something, instead of looking at a map on a flat piece of paper,” Pierce said.