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Business group planning celebration

Annual trade fair to focus on organization's growth

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Bedford Business Association President Laura Collins, left, and Second Vice President Karen Daggett say the trade fair will feature more than 160 township businesses.

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TEMPERANCE -- This year's Bedford Trade Fair has "a very special theme running through it," said Laura Collins, president of the Bedford Business Association, the sponsor of the annual event.

That's because the trade fair set for this weekend at Bedford High School also is a celebration of the BBA's 30th birthday. "We're celebrating 30 years of progress," Ms. Collins, a Lambertville tax accountant, said. "Our organization started with a handful of members back in 1982. Since then we have grown to more than 275 members."

Karen Daggett, second vice president of the BBA and a former president, recalled that the group used to meet in restaurants and the Olde Schoolhouse Commons before it had a place of its own.

Booth space at this year's trade fair is sold out, with more than 160 township businesses represented at booths they will start setting up Thursday. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, and is to feature entertainment, door and booth prizes, and food and beverages.

Admission is free. Ms. Collins said she expected as many as 15,000 visitors to walk through the doors.

She said the trade fair has a simple purpose: "We're all about promoting local. We're bringing together local businesses and letting the public know what these businesses have to offer. You'd be surprised at the visitors who say, 'I didn't know we had that in Bedford Township.' "

The trade fair is also a fund-raiser for the BBA, which has one paid staffer: a part-time secretary. Booth rentals are $200 to $250, with proceeds used to make mortgage payments on the BBA's building at 8204 Secor Rd. along with scholarships and activities such as a business mentoring program in the planning stages that aims to give students an idea of what being in business is like. "It's something we can give back to the community," Ms. Collins said.

The entertainment begins Saturday at 10:15 a.m. with the Bedford Community Ed Premier Dancers, followed by the high school jazz band (11 a.m.), the Bedford Soiree Singers (12 p.m.), singer-songwriter Sam DeArmond (12:45 p.m.), the Temperance Tonic Band (1:30 p.m.), the Bedford Cloggers (2:30 p.m.), the high school jazz quartet (3:15 p.m.), a Monroe County Sheriff's Office canine demonstration (3:35 p.m.), and the Fossil Creek Bluegrass Band (4 p.m.).

Sunday's entertainment begins with Twirl Michigan (12:15 p.m.), a performance by Mini Motions Dance Center (1 p.m.), the Bedford Community Singers (1:45 p.m.), the Miss Monroe County titleholders (2 p.m.), a Michigan State Police canine demonstration (2:30 p.m.), Miss Lori's Dance Express (2:45 p.m.), Jean Holden and Singers (3:45 p.m.), and the BBA prize drawings (4:45 p.m.).

The trade fair also is a venue for nonprofits such as Cell Phones for Soldiers, which will have a booth in conjunction with the Bedford Republican Club. The national group solicits donations of gently used cell phones for troops and distributes prepaid international calling cards to them.

Donated phones too worn to be reused are sold to a Michigan-based recycler for $5 apiece, with the proceeds used to pay for the calling cards, said Mary Kay Thayer, interim president of the township Republican club.

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