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Crowd strolls through aisles at annual expo in Sylvania

Organizer expects biggest turnout in its 12-year run

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    Above, dancers from Toledo-based El Cora­zon de Mex­ico Bal­let Folk­lor­ico perform at the annual Showcase Sylvania Expo at Tam-O-Shanter.Left, Sylvania resident Dominic Arvay, 16, high-fives the mascot of Arnold’s Home Improvement.

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    Holland residents Dubby Ruckman, second from right, and Ada Mae Schooner, right, admire a three-tier wedding cake from Eston’s Bakery during the Showcase Sylvania Expo at Tam-O-Shanter.

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Holland residents Dubby Ruckman, second from right, and Ada Mae Schooner, right, admire a three-tier wedding cake from Eston’s Bakery during the Showcase Sylvania Expo at Tam-O-Shanter.

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The 12th year of the Showcase Sylvania Expo was expected to be the event’s biggest yet, an organizer said.

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By 10 a.m. Saturday, Tam-O-Shanter bustled with thousands of people cruising down aisles viewing products and services displayed by more than 180 vendors. From banks to restaurant services, a gamut of business fields were represented at the annual show that markets small and large businesses to area residents.

“We were here for a skating lesson and saw how busy the parking lot was and said, ‘We got to check this out,’ ” said Kristie Gage, 35, of Perrysburg.

Her children — Nicholas, 6, and Ava, 6 — were happy they did.

“I’m getting a rainbow butterfly,” Ava said while the family waited in line for face painting at Over the Rainbow Early Learning Center’s kiosk.

Sylvania-based Over the Rainbow was one of several businesses in the large children’s area. Nicholas happily sported his freshly drawn Batman mask.

“This is the biggest turnout we have had yet,” said Alan Sattler, chairman of the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the exposition.

Mr. Sattler predicted more than 5,000 people would walk through the doors before the expo’s 3 p.m. close. Last year’s attendance was estimated at more than 4,000 people, with about 170 vendors.

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Above, dancers from Toledo-based El Cora­zon de Mex­ico Bal­let Folk­lor­ico perform at the annual Showcase Sylvania Expo at Tam-O-Shanter.Left, Sylvania resident Dominic Arvay, 16, high-fives the mascot of Arnold’s Home Improvement.

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At ProMedica’s Health Pavilion booth, Toledo resident Cynthia Thurman, 57, took advantage of the osteoporosis screening, placing her foot in a reader that used ultrasound waves to measure bone density in the foot’s heel.

“I have not seen this before. This is fantastic,” she said.

Mr. Sattler, also president of ProMedica Flower Hospital, said that was one of several services his employer offered at the expo.

“This year the pavilion has Paramount Advantage [a hospital affiliate] informing people about health-care reform, osteoporosis screening, and a cancer skin care kiosk,” he said.

On the far end of the floor, workers for Sylvania’s Hafner Florists got people in the mood for spring by handing out yellow daffodils and brightly colored calendars.

“This is a small community, and we like to keep it local,” said Greg Hafner, whose father, Paul Hafner, has owned Hafner Florists since 1992.

The expo allows them to maintain their community presence while also solidifying relationships with back-to-back business customers, Greg Hafner said.

But the expo had a little bit of fun and play. Area organizations took the stage in the children’s area, performing dance and music routines.

Children of Toledo-based El Corazon de Mexico Ballet Folklorico dazzled the audience with their traditional rainbow-colored dresses and folk dancing.

During a preview party Friday night, the Sylvania chamber announced its annual Chamber Champions honors for businesses and leaders that demonstrate exemplary community service.

This year’s winners include Lowe’s in the business category; Over the Rainbow Early Learning Center, small business; Mancy’s Italian Grill restaurant, retail; Lamar Outdoor, media; Sylvania Community Arts Commission, nonprofit organization; Jeff Stansley, volunteer of the year; and Dave White of Dave White Chevrolet, business leader.

Receiving a special award was Brad Rieger, the Sylvania superintendent of schools, for the support he offered businesses as 2013 chamber chairman.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade.com, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.

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