ExpoFest 2017 celebrated business, energy and agriculture on Thursday at the Santa Maria Fairpark, with several new twists to the traditional trade show.
The annual event hosted by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce highlighted the three sectors that fuel, feed and serve the local community, organizers said.
“It’s always been a really good event for businesses in town to network with each other, to meet new customers, introduce themselves, maybe meet a new partner,” said Glenn Morris, CEO and president of the Chamber of Commerce.
Months ago, representatives of the energy firms approached chamber officials regarding holding an event to help educate the public about the industry.
Instead of a separate event, organizers decided to expand the business trade show to include representatives from energy and ag firms, along with normal participants from other businesses and organizations
“I think in the long run it gives them a chance to tell their story, but they’ll also bring a different audience, which will then be introduced to businesses so it’s good synergy,” Morris added.
The two industries make up the foundation of the valley’s economy, Morris said.
The trade show theme of “Let’s Play Ball” had participants sporting jerseys of their favorite teams — Dodgers apparrel proved plentiful — and handing out baseball-themed treats.
This year’s free event ran from 4:30 to 9 p.m., and included live musical performances.
More than 60 local businesses were on display for at least two hours during the traditional business expo portion of the event, inside the Fairpark’s Park Plaza and Convention Center buildings, and also in the center courtyard.
Agriculture and energy industries had outdoor booths and large equipment on display.
ExpoFest 2017 also included food, beer and wine available for purchase from Cool Hand Lukes, Lidos, and BBQ in the Stix.
For children, a free kid’s zone included inflatables, face painting and more.
Organizers tout the annual business trade show as the largest betweent San Francisco and Los Anglees.