MADISON — Kings, queens, princes and princesses of all ages descended on the Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo and Kids Day 2018 Saturday at the Hogan Family YMCA.
With this year’s theme “Dragons & Castles!”, it felt more like a community carnival than a business event, although more than 60 businesses showcased their products and services. They were surrounded by face and rock painting, an inflatable bouncy house, balloon animals, courtyard games with prizes, and a dunking booth targeting Madison City dignitaries.
Gold sponsors set up their castles in the rotunda where they gave out candy, face and clothing stickers, and provided paper crowns and shields for the kids to color themselves.
It was the first year exhibiting at the Expo for Madison’s new Integrity Family Care.
“We are doing free blood pressure screenings and introducing people to our Meet K mobile app where you can chat about your symptoms and get faster family care,” said Integrity’s Lacey Jackson.
Both Alexander Martial Arts and Jeong’s Yong-In Martial Arts put on their annual demonstrations, but the Expo expanded its theatrical performances this year with a Madison City Community Orchestra performance and a skit performed by Fantasy Playhouse Children’s Theater in the forecourt.
“Community involvement is at the heart of what we do,” said Emily Bonomo, marketing coordinator for the Lee Company. “It is family-friendly event where we can bring our own kids to work!”
Matt Curtis Real Estate created their own head-in-the-hole poster board, so kids could get a picture of themselves as a knight in shining armor.
“We love coming out to community events,to mix and mingle with the community and being able to show them what we do,” said Diana Hughes, social media manager at Matt Curtis Real Estate, one of the Expo’s long-time sponsors.
“This has been fun for us. We have spent the last couple of days as a team working on the castle and getting everything ready to bring with us.”
Out in the parking lot, HEMSI and Madison Fire & Rescue offered tours of a fire truck and an ambulance, while SARTEC brought out highly-trained rescue dogs to interact with the attendees.
There was no shortage of munchies as food trucks served everything from ice cream and snow cones to barbecue.
There were a couple of baseball games in play, and a Dunk Tank fundraiser with proceeds going to the Hogan YMCA’s 2018 Changing Lives Annual Giving Campaign. On the dunking seat were WDRM and WTAK radio hosts Josie Lane and Johnny Maze; Madison Fire Chief David Bailey, and Rainbow Elementary School Principal, Brian Givens.
“It is all about community for us,” said an IberiaBank representative in the doorway of an elaborately decorated castle façade, handing out candy and face stickers. “We have been attending the Expo for many years and every year it gets bigger and better for everyone.”
“Our goal is to unite all public and private interests to support those activities that are broader than any single business or industry,” said Chamber Executive Director, Pam Honeycutt. “The Madison Chamber of Commerce cannot succeed without its valued members, and we work hard to help our members stay involved, connected and informed through events like the Business Expo and Kids Day.