By Joel Hall
This Thursday, more than 40 businesses that form the economic backbone of Clayton County, will show the metro-Atlanta community what they have to offer at the Showcase Clayton Community Expo.
The event will take place Oct. 11, from 4-8 p.m., at the State Farmer's Market, located at 16 Forest Parkway in Forest Park.
The Clayton County Water Authority, Clayton State University, Heritage Bank, Chick-fil-A, and several local government divisions are of the many businesses and organizations that will be represented.
Clayton County Chamber of Commerce Vice President Yulonda Beauford said the expo is a chance to promote networking within the county, as well as to make Clayton businesses attractive to other counties.
"From a chamber perspective, we want to continue to see our businesses prosper, and the Showcase Expo is just another way to do that," Beauford said. "It's a variety of businesses representing the wide array of businesses that we have in this community."
Last year, the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce hosted its inaugural Showcase Clayton Community Expo at the Clayton State Continuing Education Center. This year, the event has grown in both size and concept, moving into the spacious Farmer's Market Exhibition Hall.
"We're really excited to move into the Farmer's Market," said Geoff Fulton, incoming chair of the Clayton Chamber. "I think the Farmer's Market is an underutilized, under-appreciated economic generator in the county."
Fulton said the event will include a live DJ, playing a wide variety of music, as well as door-prize drawings every 30 minutes throughout the evening. The grand-prize drawing at the end of the night will be two round-trip, airfare tickets to anywhere AirTran Airways flies.
"We have some new features built into this expo that we have never had before," said Beauford, the chamber's vice president. "We are incorporating a Kid's Zone, so that their kids can have some entertainment while they explore the expo."
Children will be able to enjoy face painting, various games, a clown, and the Chick-fil-A cow, courtesy of Chick-fil-A Dwarf House in Forest Park.
In addition -- this year for the first time -- two Clayton County-based authors will be doing book signings at the expo. Children's author G.S. Crews will be signing copies of his book "Ellen G. Goes Fishing," and Assuanta Collins will be signing copies of her books "Until the Next Time," and "Until the Next Time 2: God's Plan."
"There is something for everybody at this expo," said Beauford.
Mystique VanO'Linda, president of VanO'Linda and Associates Accounting, Tax, and Financial Services, and presenting sponsor of the event for the second year in a row, said the expo, "sheds a positive light on what Clayton County has to offer."
"People are recognizing that this is an event of great opportunity," said VanO'Linda. "The fact that it's grown shows that the chamber is doing a good job at what it does."