03/05/06 — Duplin Expo draws big weekend crowd

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Duplin Expo draws big weekend crowd

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 5, 2006 2:03 AM

KENANSVILLE -- Organizers say the 4th annual Duplin County Business Expo held this weekend in the Events Center at Duplin Commons was a huge success.

All 135 booths were filled Friday and Saturday, said Adam Futrell, operations manager for the Events Center.

"The food vendors sold out of food Friday night and went and bought more," he said.

The 220-space parking lot was filled around noon Saturday, and Oliver Vestal said while he was checking for the $3 tickets people bought to get into the Expo, "the crowd is flowing steady."

Duplin Tourism Director Robb Wells said 1,624 people came through between 6 and 10 p.m. Friday, and the goal was to see another 1,500 Saturday by 8 p.m. when the Expo was to end.

"It's a great show. Many are seeing the Events Center for the first time," he said. "They're finding they don't have to drive out of the county to see something very nice."

Robert Nunnery with Cardinal Coach in Warsaw said he was getting a lot of inquiries about particular trips.

"I see a lot of people I know that I don't get to see much, and I see a lot of new people," he said.

The booths weren't just manned by business people. Government agencies like the Farm Bureau and Emergency Medical Services and the Sheriff's Office had booths. Both political parties had a presence. And there were organizations like Humane Society and Sarah's Refuge, a shelter for battered women and children.

Bradley Lanier of Beaulaville had just arrived and was perusing the Calypso Wholesale booth.

"I'm impressed," he said. "This is a nice building."

Phyllis Cheney, assistant manager for Calypso Wholesale, had helped set up the booth for her employer. She said the crowd Friday night was "wall to wall, elbow to elbow."