By Magda Dakin
Truly fun for the whole family, the 21st Annual Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Home & Community Expo was a rousing success on a beautiful March 16 Saturday.
Jeannie Hebert and her competent staff put together all the elements to make coming out on a Saturday for a fun family day a thing to look forward to year after year.
With at least eighty different groups represented, there was more than enough to keep everyone interested.
The younger folks, and older ones too, were enchanted by the animals gathered in the entrance lobby, complete with a naming contest. Whitter Farms’ newest calf, born March 1, got a name, Alfalfa. The Ironshoe Farms Mobile Petting Zoo and Many Feet Alpaca Farm created opportunities to touch, feel and smell goats, sheep and alpaca.
Throughout the day BOBO the clown was busy making clown animals for all. The Whitin Community Center was painting faces, the Dog Orphan booth had puppies to hold and love, the Uxbridge k9 Unit did demonstrations with their trained dogs, the Family Karate Center gave demonstrations and local team mascots let fans take their pictures.
A truly participatory event, the highlight of the day was the Chowder Contest with Grafton Job Corps, The Green Plate, Hunter’s Grille & Tap at the Grafton Inn and the Lydia Taft house featuring their versions of chowder. Winner of the Judges prize was the Lydia Taft House and the winner of the Peoples’ Choice award was Hunter’s Grille & Tap of Grafton.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day there was a ’Pot of Gold’ contest sponsored by ten of the booths. Winners received special baskets and prizes. Speaking of prizes, one of the biggest draws for the event is the endless opportunity to win prizes all during the event. Every few minutes the names of winners were called out and sometimes finding the leprechaun walking around the expo could net you a special prize.
The booths themselves presented a full range of interests from banks and credit unions, real estate agents to schools and investment advisers. The Worcester Bravehearts and the Massachusetts Pirates sent their mascots and even had a dance off with the PawSox mascots, and the Wags Whitin Community Center mascot.
Some notably interesting booths included Girls on the Run, a comprehensive program that helps transform girls’ lives by helping them increase self-confidence, develop healthy relationships and feel good about themselves, inside and out-through running. The Celebrate Recovery program sponsored by Pleasant St. Church addresses the hurts, hangups and habits we’d like to be free of. The BV Education HUB gave a visual tour of 3D printing with the use of a MakerBot, printing from a picture and making a 3D head.
An event as big and successful as this has to be supported by lots of groups and the following sponsors helped make this year’s event very successful; Unibank, Gaudette Insurance, Savers Bank, Homefield Credit Union, Milford Federal, Lampin Corporation, Ostermans, DCU and St. Camillus Health Center.
The closing event was the most fun to watch. Dozens of dancers from the Murphy Academy of Irish Dance of Grafton regaled the expo attendees with classic fun dances to lively music and lots of smiles. Fancy dresses, ribbons, tiaras, and lots of hair gave the dance an authentic flare.
The BVCC annual Home and Community Expo is worth putting on your calendar for next year.