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Farmington Community Expo returns to FHS this weekend

The more things change, the more they stay the same. And sometimes, that's just fine.

While preparing for this year's Community Expo, organizer Barbara Pierce came across an old advertisement from the first one, held in 1998. When she really started to think about what was offered then, and what will be offered at this weekend's Community Expo, she noticed that not a lot has really changed.

Farmington businesses and service organizations will still have tables set up, just like in 1998. There will tables from clubs for kids, youth athletics, churches, and so on. That hasn't changed with time, either.

But what has changed over the years is the popularity of the event. It just keeps getting bigger and better, and the 2013 Community Expo will be no different.

Pierce is adult and community program coordinator for Community Education, and she's been organizing the annual expo since 2009. This year, she said, the Community Expo is bringing in 120 vendors, all of which are from Farmington.

"The goal is the same today as it was then, to connect people to their community and let them know what's available right here in Farmington," Pierce said.

Every one of the vendors comes from the community, Pierce said. Those criteria have never wavered, because the Community Expo is meant to showcase the businesses and organizations that are in the city and School District 192. Since the event typically draws about 2,500 people, business owners outside of the city have asked to participate more than once, but they've been turned down.

"This is a nice chance for those businesses that support the school district and that support the city every time we come around for donations, to get some exposure," Pierce said. "These are the businesses who provide money for homecoming or the senior class parties, or who pass out treats during the Halloween Walk. This is our way of giving them some nice exposure as a way to say thank you."

The expo is not a big money-maker for community education, but that's not its intent, Pierce said. The intent is to bring businesses and organizations together in a central location, so residents can find out more about the many offerings there are in Farmington.

The early expos were held in September, right around homecoming, but changed to January several years back. While the weather is sometimes downright cold, Pierce said the January schedule seems to work very well for everyone involved - be they vendor or visitor.

"It gives you a chance to get out and see people. January is a time when most people are holed up in the house, so this gives you a good reason to get out and have some fun," she said.

The 2013 Farmington Community Expo will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Jan. 26, in the commons area of Farmington High School. It is free and open to the public.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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