MILFORD — Santa Claus is coming to town at this year’s Southern New Hampshire Expo along with more than 200 exhibitors who will attend the one-day celebration of local businesses and organizations.
On Thursday, Oct. 17 beginning at 2 p.m. at the Hampshire Dome in Milford, the eighth annual Southern New Hampshire Expo will feature businesses, restaurants, and civic organizations all brought together under one roof.
The expo is sold out with more than 200 booths rented, according to May Balsama, executive director of the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the annual event, “It’s a real big deal,” Balsama said. “It’s a sign that people are feeling good about participating and are interested in doing some face-to-face marketing.”
Having a chance to shake hands and meet potential clients, donors, or partners eye-to-eye is a profound way to promote a business or organization, said Balsama, and people have been able to see the success of making connections at the expo over the last eight years.
This year, the expo’s them is “Rediscover Main Street,” which is meant to remind visitors of a time when doing business locally was just part of everyday life.
“I love the Main Street theme,” Balsama said. “It brings up the emotions of having strong roots, knowing your neighbors, and visiting the corner druggist on the Oval.”
“Rediscover Main Street,” allows visitors at the expo to take a look back through the history of the region and its agricultural heritage. Featured this year among the 200 participants will be Orde Farm, a second-generation feed and grain store in Hollis.
Founded by Alan Orde, a retired farmer who raised dairy cows, chickens and hay, Orde Farm changed hands for a while before returning to the family under the ownership of Doug Orde, who spent his snow days off from school packing eggs in the basement, not sledding or building snowmen.
Now the business has expanded beyond just feed and grain to include a wide range of products for home, garden and farm like a dry goods shop from yesteryear.
“It’s come full-circle,” Orde said.
The Main Street theme also throws out a welcome to new residents in the area who can get a first-hand look at all the services, products and dining options there are in southern New Hampshire.
But the expo is about more than just business, Balsama said. Throughout the day there will be live entertainment, including three barbershop quartets roaming the Hampshire Dome, and bouncy houses and the “Discovery Dome” from the McAulliffe-Shepard Discovery Center will give the kids something of their own to celebrate.
An early visit from Santa Claus will allow folks an opportunity to get a timely photo for their Christmas cards, said Balsama, and restaurants from around the region will be offering bites of their best meals.
For more information visit www.southernnhexpo.com.