By Matt Helm
BELVIDERE ─ The Belvidere Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the annual business exposition the Boone County Expo (BoCo) at the Community Building Complex of Boone County on Saturday, Feb. 6.
The event featured two floors of vendors equipped with business information and samples, as well as food for purchase on the lower level.
“I come to the BoCo event because it helps get the word out for my business but also I find it helps me keep connected to the other vendors here who give me work,” Deb Kemp said.
Kemp owns Fast Lane Threads, which offers custom screen printing and embroidery.
“We do a lot of local business logos,” Kemp said. “At this event I do printing for the Boone County Council on Aging, the Main Street Players, the Gardeners Club and the Veterans Association just to name a few. I’m one of the few businesses here; a lot of the booths here are for service oriented organizations.”
The Community Building saw a constant flow of foot traffic as people perused the different booths, many of which were interactive. The Boone County Arts Council displayed original artwork by students from Belvidere North High School and patrons could vote for their favorite.
Expo2-2“The Boone County Expo absolutely helps get our word out there, especially for older people like me who aren’t all that savvy with social media,” Boone County Arts Council President Sherry Lindquist said. “Our mission is to enhance the arts and enhance life by advocating for the arts in Boone County.”
The Boone County Arts Council encourages those interested to look forward to the Student Art Show in May. Also advocating for the arts at the Expo were the Main Street Players, Boone County’s community theater organization.
“We’ve been doing shows here for 21 years I believe,” Vince Melillo, one of the vice presidents of the Main Street Players, said. “It’s a good way to get together and meet a lot of nice people. It’s fun and it’s local and it brings something to the community.”
The Main Street Players are putting on “The Odd Couple” Feb. 12 through Feb. 14 and Feb. 19 through Feb. 21. The show is double cast with an all male and all female performances, with half-priced discounts for those interested in seeing both versions of the show.
“‘The Odd Couple’ is a classic and we think audiences will get a kick out of it,” Melillo said. “We get people who have never done shows before and who have never acted, helping work on the set, painting, building, ushering and working with the sound. You develop a lot of different skills and in the process make a sort of theater family.”
Information about tickets and times can be found at mainstreetplayersofboonecounty.com.
The Boone County Expo featured 58 booths, including community organizations, businesses, colleges, hospitals and even politicians. Manley’s Belvidere Ford and Lincoln advertised their new location.
“We have a guessing game for how many keys are in the jar and the person with the closest guess gets a year of oil changes,” Stephanie Jones said.
Expo2-3“We are the second oldest Ford dealership in the world and I think it is important for us to be involved in community events to let people know what’s new with us. We have a fantastic new location that is fresh, new and modern. Our show room is bigger so you can fit more cars. It really reflects how we want to present ourselves.”
Brothers Jack and Tom Ratcliffe represented The Grange, well known for sponsoring the Boone County Fair.
“We do community service projects throughout the year,” Tom Ratcliffe said. “We are promoting the Flora Grange. All seven chapters own and operate the fair, but we are always looking for new members. This spring we are working on the Safety Town event for Boone County kids to learn about bicycle, weather and other safety workshops.”
The Boone County Expo covered a wide scope from local businesses to the arts, agriculture and beyond, showcasing the many worthwhile services Boone County has to offer.

Buy Viagra Overnight Delivery USA.