Area residents will get a double dose of information when they visit the annual Iola Area Chamber of Commerce Business EXPO Friday and Saturday.
Not only will they once again learn about goods and services offered by local businesses and agencies, participants will learn how to conserve energy and save on their utility bills.
The EXPO, at the Recreation Community Building at Riverside Park, coincides with the kickoff of Iola’s Take Charge Challenge, an effort to tout energy efficiency in hopes of attracting a $100,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Energy.
As reported last week, Iola is one of five southeast Kansas communities vying for the grant — along with Chanute, Fort Scott, Parsons and Pittsburg — by devising easy-to-do tasks that reward public participation through energy savings.
This weekend’s EXPO will be the first big push by Take Charge Challenge organizers. Iolans who bring in regular incandescent light bulbs can exchange them for free compact fluorescent light bulbs. Anyone living in the 66749 zip code is eligible. Up to five bulbs per person may be traded.
The CFL bulbs typically use 20 to 30 percent less energy than their incandescent counterparts and last eight to 15 times as long.
SEVERAL businesses also will provide information in accordance with this year’s EXPO theme: “How Big Is Your Footprint,” referencing one’s energy consumption “footprint” on the planet.
The EXPO runs from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
In all, 35 booths will be open to visitors, including newcomers Diamond Daisy, Cedarbrook Golf & Fitness, Sparkles Cleaning and B & W Trailer Hitches.
“We have a wide array of businesses people can learn about,” Taylor said.
As always, visiting plenty of booths will make visitors eligible for a $500 drawing at the close of business Saturday. Participants can enter twice — once Friday and once Saturday, said Jana Taylor, chamber executive director.
SEVERAL SPECIAL events are also planned.
Allen County Hospital will hosts its annual health fair from 8 to 11 Saturday in the rec building’s Little Theater.
(Health fair info here)
Modern Woodmen will accept applications for households to receive up to $500 for home energy improvements through its Good Neighbors Program. Homeowners need not be Modern Woodmen clients to enter.
The Family Physicians will provide information about its soon-to-open clinic in Humboldt.
Curves will focus on a different type of energy — exercise — by offering information about its upcoming Zumba classes. Some demonstrations likely will be a part of this weekend’s festivities, Taylor said.
Allen County Animal Rescue Facility will host a chili feed Friday evening, a biscuits and gravy breakfast Saturday and Keg’s Pit BBQ sandwiches Saturday afternoon.
Previous EXPO standards, such as Diebolt Lumber and Supply, TLC Greenhouse and Duane’s Flowers also will have demonstrations galore again this year.
“But mostly, it’s about people learning what everybody out there has to offer,” Taylor said.
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