Destiny Organics volunteer Brett Clark hands out juice samples during the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce’s Showcase Clayton Business and Community Expo at First Baptist Church of Jonesboro on Thursday. (Staff Photos: Curt Yeomans)
JONESBORO — Residents of Clayton County spent Thursday putting out virtual fires, tasting organic almond butter, marveling at blue velvet cake and learning about the progress their government is making.
Clayton County’s Chamber of Commerce showcased the connection between its businesses and government during the Showcase Clayton Expo at First Baptist Church at Jonesboro. This was the first time the government expo, Show on the Road, had joined with the business expo.
Chamber President and CEO Yulonda Beauford said the results were exciting.
“The church has been a fantastic partner,” she said. “We’ve been here about four years. And it just continues to get better and better.”
Clayton County Board of Commission Chairman Jeff Turner put together Show on the Road — the government portion of the showcase. He said he was also impressed with the turnout and the display.
“The Show on the Road was a concept I developed to let citizens meet with department directors who are responsible for making the decisions that affect their livelihood,” Turner said. “It’s well-attended.”
Residents flocking through the church stopped by the front desk to pick up a green First Baptist Church of
Jonesboro tote bag that they could stuff with goodies. A quick look around the vendor tables showed that they definitely needed it.
Multiple government organizations showed up to hand out pamphlets and pertinent information. Chief Financial Officer Ramona Thurman sat at a booth decorated with free copies of the county’s budget and chocolate coins to represent the Clayton County Finance Department. Just a few tables down sat Grant Wainscott, director of the Clayton County Office of Economic Development office, letting residents know about the developments their county has been making.
A booth across the way represented the Clayton County Treatment Court, a new program that aims to aid non-violent offenders who repeatedly land in jail as a result of untreated mental illnesses by providing them with information on getting Social Security benefits, medical help and education about their illness.
The Board of Commissioners voted to allow the program to have a part-time program coordinator to allow it to keep running and to serve more participants. Now the program has even more to celebrate. Their booth at the expo held several printed invitation’s to one successful participant’s graduation in September.
“It’s going to be awesome,” said Jane Glaze Horton, who has worked closely with the program since its inception.
The government booths weren’t the only places residents could stop to pick up goodies.
Destiny Organics, a company that distributes local organic produce, boasted a display of almond butter, organic juices and yogurt-covered pretzels.
At the next booth over, Christina Cummings was serving her famous blue velvet cake. Cummings is the owner of Good Spot, a restaurant that serves breakfast, burgers and other classic favorites. She also bakes cakes for weddings and special events — and teaches a class about cake decorating.
Not to be outdone by Cummings’ creative booth, the Pin Strikes Bowling booth boasted a display of fruits and candies arranged to look like a swan and hard-boiled eggs decorated to look like mice.
In fact, Pin Strikes General Manager Tim Mullen acted as announcer during Tuesday’s festivities.
“Give me a microphone and away I go,” Mullen said.
He danced along with residents to the “Cha Cha Slide” toward the end of the program and declared the entire night a success.