The Business and Community Expo in Palatine will be back this month, instead of November as usual, to take advantage of the weather and offer, for the first time, outdoor activities like a petting zoo.
The family exhibit will take place on September 25, after being suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched in 2016, it is organized by the Palatine Region Chamber of Commerce, which uses a large portion of the proceeds to fund its Academy of Young Entrepreneurs for local students.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Falcon Park Recreation Center, 2195 Hicks Road in Palatine. There will be nearly 50 exhibitors, which is a little less than in years past, said Steve Gaus, executive director of the chamber. Free entry.
âThe numbers are down a bit for several reasons,â he said. âCOVID keeps a few people away, but it’s mostly staff. There have been a lot more businesses that wanted to be included but couldn’t do it on a Saturday.â
Additionally, many business owners experienced financial hardship during the pandemic, Gaus said. To that end, the chamber offered an early bird discount as well as incentives to non-chamber members, he said.
âWe are just proud to be able to host an event like this this year and overcome the challenges of the pandemic,â said Gaus. “We invite people to come to what should be a safe, fun and family-friendly event.”
Face masks will be mandatory and will be available for those who forget them, Gaus said.
Exhibitors, businesses and non-profit organizations, cover a wide range: senior communities, martial arts, banking, dentistry, fitness, media, chiropractors, home improvement, massage, family services, grocery shopping, and more. The Palatine Police will be present with a demonstration of canine unity.
For the first time at the show, Animal Quest of Lake Villa will have an outdoor petting zoo with “very friendly animals,” Gaus said. Animal Quest will also offer an interactive show with “several types of unusual animals,” he said.
The final roster is still pending, but there will likely be a snake, lizard, turtle, coatimundis, giant African frog, hedgehog, goat and rabbits, the company said.
The exhibit will also feature an expanded kids’ area with a range of PlayGround Games including ring toss, âcan crushâ, âhit the bucketâ, âpop a shotâ and more.
Second City Canine Rescue will offer pet adoptions, and D’vine Wine and Gifts will offer wine tastings.
Food to purchase will include pulled pork sandwiches from Chicago Culinary Kitchen, packed lunches from Jewel-Osco, coffee from Christie’s Dairy Delights, and an ice cream truck from My Flavor It! Place.
All participants will receive a raffle ticket, said Gaus. There will be a 50/50 cash raffle and themed raffle baskets – with things like an “exit” basket with gift certificates for a local restaurant, hotel, and bottle of wine – put together by Kate Johnson of the Palatine Senior Center. All sellers donated prizes of $ 25 or more; the partner sponsor of the event is the Palatine Park District.
For timetables and other information, visit palatinechamber.com and click on the expo flyer in the upper left corner.