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Business expo coming to Clayton

By Justin Reedy

The Clayton County Tourism Authority has a message to send to local residents n you don't need to go outside of the county for a good time this summer.

The Tourism Authority hopes to spread that message this weekend at the Summer Sizzlin' Outdoor Expo at Clayton County International Park. The expo will feature local businesses highlighting summer-themed merchandise and services, as well as how to spruce up homes and gardens for the summer months.

"This is an opportunity for the community to come together and see what we have on the south side before going somewhere else," said Tangie Carter, the events sales director for the Tourism Authority.

The event is being sponsored by the Home Depot in Morrow, Allan Vigil Southlake Ford, Coca-Cola, The FISH 104.7FM and the News Daily. Home Depot will have summer merchandise on display, such as patio furniture, lawn tractors and plants, and will also be holding information classes for children. The expo offers them a great chance to meet local residents and explain their products and services, according to Fred Simpson, general manager of the Home Depot.

"This is, of course, my first expo, and we're looking forward to letting the community know we're here," Simpson said. "We want everyone to know that we are here to help them."

The expo will also feature plants and gardens, outdoor furnishings, grilling accessories, landscaping services, tools, gifts, pottery, pool equipment, garden supplies and decorative accessories. Using such products and services can help families enhance their homes and gardens, the Tourism Authority says, which is important given the fact that families aren't traveling as much as in the past.

The expo will have free samples of different kinds of merchandise and food, Carter said, including food grilled by Corbin Gas and giveaways by the FISH radio station. Barnes and Noble is also hosting a book signing by Cynthia Keen, author of "Beyond Loving," with all proceeds from that signing and any other book sales going to support American soldiers.

The event will have portions which are held indoors at the Nassau Building in the International Park, as well as some outdoor portions nearby. The Beach, the swimming venue at the park, doesn't open until Memorial Day weekend, but it will be showcased at this event.

"People don't need to go all the way to Panama City Beach to go to the beach," Carter said.

The Beach is a water park with slides, a children's pool and an artificial beach, but also includes a miniature golf course, arcade and indoor playground. The International Park includes hiking and bicycle trails and fishing lakes, as well as a tennis center slated to open later this year.

The event lasts from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Clayton County International Park, 2300 Ga. Highway 138, Jonesboro. Tickets are $5 each at the gate on the day of the event, or $3 in advance. Parties of 15 or more can purchase advance tickets for $2 each.

Advance tickets are on sale at Southlake Mall in Morrow or at the Clayton County Convention and Visitors Bureau, 104 N. Main St., Jonesboro, which can be reached at (770) 478-4800.