LEWISTON — Put a face to a name, shake hands, follow up with a Tweet.

The 17th annual Androscoggin Business to Business Trade Show mixes old school and new with the theme Networking Locally, Connecting Socially. Exhibitors and attendees are encouraged to post updates and pictures on Twitter and Facebook and mingle in person on Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

Entry is free with a business card.

Calvin Rinck, spokesman for the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, the trade show organizer, said 160-plus exhibitors will fill the Colisee. It sold out for the seventh year in a row. The council pushed to get word of the trade show out around New England. Fifty-one percent of exhibitors didn’t have a booth last year; 28 percent are from outside Androscoggin County, a much higher number than most years, according to Rinck.

The event also has its own website for the first time.

“It’s doing what it was designed to do, tracking analytics. We know that people from around the world are looking at the Business to Business Trade Show,” Rinck said. Views have come from Canada, Europe and the Far East. “Maine is a major hub in a lot of different areas. If you need to hit the Maine demographic, Lewiston-Auburn is where it’s at.”

Exhibitors come from 56 industries such as manufacturing, publishing, promotional and video services, banking and hotels.

Rinck is anticipating 2,500 attendees, some driving from as far as New York.

“We’ve gotten before, ‘I had no idea the company in town here made the widgets we need,'” Rinck said. “This is a great way to have the president, the CEO in the booth truly representing what that company does. You’ll find out what your competitors are also doing.”

The event will wrap up with a Business After Hours event in the Colisee’s concession area from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Admission to that is also free.

Thursday morning the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce will host a kickoff breakfast at the Ramada Inn featuring a Business Success Panel with Eric Agren, Kathie Leonard, Peter Rinck and Scott Riccio and a question and answer session on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. That event has a fee. For more information, www.androscoggincounty.com.

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