Business was booming at the annual St. Charles Parish Business and Health Fair where merchants from around the parish set up shop to show residents what products or services they have to offer.
Greeted by regional beauty queens, patrons entered the Hahnville High School gymnasium and quickly scanned the booths for items that interested them.
"I come every year to see what new businesses have opened in the parish," said Kiki Williams of Ama. "And I think that it is a great way for owners to get out there and network with each other and the public."
For 17 years, the St. Charles Business Association has helped organize the event in an effort to aid businesses with self-advertisement.
From realtors to banks, each merchant reserves a booth where they display information about new products or changes in their existing services.
And many vendors attract visitors with "freebies" such as branded note pads and pencils or on-site demonstrations like free health screenings.
"We want the public to see what services are available to them," said Pam Norfleet, spokesperson for St. Charles Parish Hospital. "And the health fair allows us to show people who havenít been to the hospital in while what new features we are working on."
With a variety of staff in attendance, the hospital offered free blood pressure checks, cooking demonstrations and osteoporosis screenings, just to name a few.
Another added bonus was the door prizes.
Many of the booths raffled off items like piggy banks stuffed with money and gift certificates for free services or discount coupons.
And there were plenty of activities for the kids to do.
Firefighters passed out goodie bags with activity sheets that emphasize fire safety, and the library had books on site that kids could check out.
"The best part of the day was getting to pick out and bring home my favorite books," said Norco's Allie Rodriguez, 8, who signed up for her first library card at the fair.
After a head count and sales tally, this yearís fair is certain to go down in the books as a successful one.
|Photo: Heather R. Breaux|
|SMILE FOR THE HERALD-GUIDE! Parish people were grinning ear to ear at the St. Charles Parish Business and Heatlth Fair - well, almost everyone. The SCBAís Rene Maggio and his fellow association member try to shy away, but we catch a glimse of them anyway.|