RUMFORD – Plans for a River Valley Expo were launched Tuesday afternoon at Black Mountain when the committee charged with organizing the event provided details on how businesses may participate.

The expo, to be held for the fifth time, will take place Sept. 18 and 19 at Mountain Valley High School.

Yvonne Allen, co-organizer with Cheryl Dickson, said nearly 70 booths will be available in the high school gymnasium and eight spaces outside. Rumford Hospital plans to set up a wellness center in the school’s cafeteria, and the local Relay for Life organization will rent booths to cottage businesses and crafters to sell items outside the school.

More than 60 businesses, municipalities and nonprofit organizations set up displays during last year’s event, Allen said. Those who display inside the school cannot sell items; however, those who set up in the Relay for Life area may sell products.

Anyone who wishes to rent a booth from the Relay for Life area may call Diane Mitchell at 364-8358.

Cherri Crockett, executive director of the River Valley Chamber of Commerce, said many businesses are enthusiastic about the upcoming event.

“We’ve never seen the excitement so early,” she said. “Two businesses that do business all over the country and world want to participate in the expo to show support for the River Valley.”

Laurieann Milligan, a member of the Expo committee, said it’s important to the area to show what is available locally.

“It’s very cost effective and we encourage participation,” she said.

Allen doesn’t believe the sluggish economy will affect participation.

“We expect to be full,” she said.

Also planned for the event is a public barbecue and business demonstrations.

Among those signing up for the event were Catherine Johnson of the Hope Association and Steve Hildebrand of the Oxford Federal Credit Union. “This gives us a chance to get our name and message out,” Hildebrand said.

Johnson said the expo lets the community know about the businesses Hope Association operates to benefit developmentally disabled clients.

Besides renting display booths, the expo committee is looking for sponsors willing donate from $250 to $2,000.

The Sept. 19 event is open to the public at no charge and will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Sept. 18, the exhibit is open to businesses from 4 to 7 p.m., followed by an awards program.

To participate contact Crockett at 364-3241 or [email protected]

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