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Second business expo showcases fun factor

<i>Submitted photo</i> Halloween décor and entertainment for the kids shaped last year's River Falls Chamber of Commerce sponsored Business Expo. This year's location is new and there will be more room for displays and entertainment.

Timing it with the Halloween weekend, the second annual Business Expo will again feature a heavy dose of decorations and activities for kids and families.

"We want to make sure there's plenty to do for people who attend, and especially enough going on to keep the kids busy," said Chamber of Commerce CEO Rosanne Bump. "We want to make this fun. We did that last year and the turnout was very good."

The chamber-sponsored Business Expo is a way to showcase the range of local businesses.

"It's an opportunity to highlight these businesses and the many local products and services they offer," Bump said.

The first Business Expo was held a year ago in the River Falls Armory. Bump said it was well-attended and popular, with some 50 vendors on display. Attendance for the day reached 800.

To accommodate more showing space, this year's Business Expo will take place at Knowles Center on the UW-River Falls campus from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.

Admission is free. There will be indoor trick-or-treating, face and pumpkin painting, carnival games, and coloring and craft activities. Kids are encouraged to dress up for the occasion.

Bump said the day's entertainment will include a stage magician and a dance class recital. Outside the Knowles Center there will also be hay and limo rides.

Businesses can still register to claim a 10-by-10 foot booth space for the Oct. 30 Business Expo.

The cost is $50 for chamber members, $75 for non-chamber members and $25 for nonprofits.

Registration deadline is Friday, but Bump said there may be time beyond that date to reserve space.

Registration can be done online at or by calling Bump at the chamber's number: 715-425-2533.

Before the expo starts, registered vendors can hook up for a one-hour social hour that includes brunch at 11 a.m.

Vendors at last year's Business Expo offered lots of giveaways, free samples and products to show off, from soups, sub sandwiches and chili, to woodcarving and fitness equipment demonstrations.

"It's strictly up to them to decide what they want to bring, sell and give away at their booths," Bump said. "The goal is to keep people who drop by engaged.

"We had a great response from businesses last year on how they felt the expo went and how visitors were responding. We were asked right away what we would be doing for this year's expo. Now you can find out."

These are the businesses that are now registered to exhibit at the River Falls Business Expo. Bump expects the list to grow:

    Bo's 'N Mine; South Fork Café; The Pampered Chef; Anytime Fitness; Chippewa Valley Technical College; Big Brothers/Big Sisters; Clearwater Center Electrolysis and Body Waxing; Quality Computer Services; Riverwalk Mercantile; Fantastic Sams; River Falls Community Arts Base; St. Croix Valley Restorative Justice; Horizon Family Chiropractic; Edward Jones (Vince Seidling); M&I Bank; Verizon Wireless World; River Falls Municipal Utilities; Culligan Water; WelLHaven Apartments; The Lutheran Home; Crossings by Grandstay Inn & Suites; River Falls Medical Clinic; River Falls Area Hospital; WESTconsin Credit Union; Arbonne International; Kaeser & Blair Promotional Advertising; Engstrom Brothers Concrete; Norwex; UW-River Falls; UW-RF Early Year Enthusiasts; First National Bank of River Falls; H&R Block; Greg Peters State Farm Agency; Hudson Ford/Mercury; Hub70 Design and Print; Jolene Sullivan American Family Agency; Kids Day Network; Game Quest USA; E.R.A. Muske Realty; and Usborne Books.