Aurora -- More than 600 people were on hand March 2 at the annual Aurora Chamber of Commerce Business and Community Showcase at Aurora High School.
"We are hearing wonderful feedback from exhibitors that this was the best year ever," said Laura Holman, the Chamber's executive director. "We appeared to have a more consistent crowd throughout the day [than last year], so we were pleased. We had vendors saying they had more people expressing interest in what they had to offer."
Jack Burge, the city's economic development director, also was pleased with the turnout.
"We love to see the people we don't see all the time," Burge said. "You see all ages of people here.
"In Aurora, everything is pretty vibrant," Burge said. "But we want to ramp that up some more. We're fortunate to have good directors with the city and the Chamber. Aurora is a great place to live and work."
The community showcase had visitors from all over Northeast Ohio.
Ingrid Willmott of Stow said she showed up because she tries to attend similar events in neighboring communities including Streetsboro, Kent and Cuyahoga Falls.
"You learn about the cities, and you meet new people," she said.
Joel Sluga of Mentor attended so he could watch his twin 4-year-old grandsons, Matt and Nick Felice, perform with the Hope Christian Nursery School.
Doug Hunter of Aurora showed up to watch his 4-year-old daughter, Katie, sing with the Aurora Children's Day Center group. Katie wore a cardboard "Cat in the Hat" hat with red and white stripes.
Mary Jurkiewicz-Beckstrom and her mother, Louise Jurkiewicz, both of Aurora, were in attendance.
"I'm amazed at the enthusiasm here," Jurkiewicz-Beckstrom said. "It's good to see all the different ages and all the performances."
"This is fantastic," her mother added.
"THIS IS A nice event," said Aurora's Dick Scroggs, who there with his wife, Lois. "It's a good place to see people you haven't seen for a while."
About 60 registered exhibitors were on hand. About 50 of those were from area businesses, and the rest were non-profit groups including the city of Aurora and the Aurora Schools Foundation.
Ongoing entertainment included Snoopy, Swifty the Clown, who created balloon sculptures, and the Aurora High School Greenman.
Other entertainment was provided by Aurora High School, which featured an inline percussion ensemble with a choreographed light and drum show along with an a capella group, Harmon School choir, Aurora School of Music, Aurora Children's Day Center, Leighton Leaping Stars, Hope Christian Nursery School and Yoga Life with demonstrations by Suzanne.
All attendees received a "passport" to be stamped as they visited booths. Every completed passport provided a chance to win one of many donated prizes.
There were also a number of raffles and giveaways sponsored by individual exhibitors.
Holman said the Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau is a membership-based organization that "is directly accountable to our members and the community we serve. We are proud and pleased to showcase so many of the elements that make Aurora such a special place to live, work and do business."
"We invite all Aurora area businesses and organizations to contact us so we can talk about how the Chamber of Commerce can support and promote them," Holman said. "Together, we will achieve our mission of facilitating the growth of Aurora area businesses, promoting tourism and investing in programs that enhance and enrich this wonderful community."
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4187