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Not all business: Woodbury Community Expo combines shopping, entertainment, prizes

Thousands are expected at the April 7 Woodbury Community Expo at East Ridge High School. William Loeffler / RiverTown Multimedia

Even the die-hardiest shopper might balk at the idea of visiting over 100 local businesses in one day - unless it's the day of the Woodbury Community Expo.

April 7, the East Ridge High School gym will morph into a giant indoor market, with 175 display booths staffed by local merchants, health clinics and social service organizations.

Since its creation by the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce, the expo has provided a convenient one-stop shop for those who want to see what products and services are available in their community - no GPS required.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can enjoy live entertainment, sign up for prize giveaways and browse the makeshift "storefronts" of neighborhood dance studios, chiropractors, gyms, daycare centers, salons, home remodelers, pet groomers and landscaping companies.

The always-popular Vehicle Fair returns to the parking lot of the school Activities Center.

Kids can see a fire truck, police squad car and other rigs. They can also climb into the cab of a backhoe and work some of the controls.

The home of the East Ridge Raptors will also feature a personal appearance by a couple of real-life, honest-to-goodness raptors: a red-tailed hawk and a peregrine falcon. Carpenter Nature Center representative Jessie Eckroad will serve as bird chaperone.

"It's a really great opportunity to be able to see them up close and get to see them in a detail that you normally wouldn't," said Eckroad, who serves as outreach program coordinator for the center.

The event will be emceed by Woodbury vocalist/pianist Phil Thompson. Thompson has performed at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the MGM Grand in Macau and the US Open Tennis Tournament in New York. He's played on cruise ships in Australia, New Zealand, the Caribbean and Alaska.

New this year: the Hooperina Hula Hoop Show at 3 p.m. Dancer Ashley Zieper will twirl multiple Hula Hoops into orbit around her arms, legs, neck and torso like a one-woman solar system.

Other main stage performances include magic and juggling from Perpetual Vaudeville at 11 a.m. and 12:20 p.m.; Small Stuff/Big deal show by the Bakken Museum at 11:45 a.m. and a Princess Royal Ball at 2:40 p.m. The Princess Royal Ball, presented by Occasions with Character, features a cast of storybook characters, including pirates and princesses.

"It's a very interactive stage presentation where they have kids come up and do some dancing and singing, event organizer Amanda Roseth said.

The upstairs cafeteria will feature 10 food vendors and performances and demonstrations by school orchestras and bands as well as martial arts demonstrations and a Snake Discovery Reptile Show.

If you go:

The Woodbury Community Expo runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 7 at East Ridge High School, 4200 Pioneer Dr. in Woodbury.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

(651) 319-4501
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