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Southern Illinois Made Expo set to return to in person this Fall

Visitors will return to Southern Illinois Made Expo
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 5:56 PM CDT
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MARION, Ill. (KFVS) - Williamson County is gearing up to host an event featuring locally made products. Many local businesses will get the chance to showcase their services at the Southern Illinois Made Expo.

After being virtual the past 2 years, Illinois State Senator Dale Fowler announced Tuesday afternoon that it will be back in person.

“We did great the first 2 years and we went virtual the next 2 years because we weren’t able to have the in person event,” said Fowler

This year’s in person event is set to take place at the Pavilion in Marion. It will be October 15 and 16.

The expo was created to highlight the businesses and tourism destinations throughout the southern Illinois region.

“We want people to know from all over the country that southern Illinois in what we have to offer in manufacturing and also just in even small items that we have that are made here. If it’s jams, jellies or sauces, salsa, BBQ sauce they’re shipped all over the country,” said Fowler.

Part of Fowler’s mission for the expo is to help raise funds for local organizations.

“This year it’s going to be split between Operation Honor Guard and the Southern Illinois Honor Flight,” said Fowler.

All proceeds from the expo, including sponsorship funding, exhibitor registration and donations will go towards those charities.

Over the last few years, $120,000 has been raised.

The expo is also a great opportunity for local businesses to showcase their products.

“There are a lot of businesses that are in the rolling hills of southern Illinois and they may not necessarily have that Main Street access and this provides and opportunity for people to visit places they wouldn’t normally think to go,” said Karen Mullins Executive Director of Marion Chamber of Commerce.

Mullins says the expo also gives local businesses new ideas and new partners.

“They can network with each other and build new business relationships that can help support them in the future,” said Mullins.

Fowler is just wanting to highlight what’s in his district’s backyard.

“It’s truly phenomenal what is here in southern Illinois,” said Fowler.

Exhibitor registration for interested businesses will open June 16. The deadline is September 14.

To become an exhibitor at the expo, the following criteria must be met:

  • Feature products produced in southern Illinois or destinations available in southern Illinois
  • Willingness and capacity to sell/showcase products/destinations to retailers and the public at your booth during both days of the event
  • Agree not to exhibit or promote any products/destinations not made in southern Illinois
  • Agree to all exhibitor rules and regulations listed in the Participation Agreement Form section
  • Provide certificate of insurance by email on or before the proper date

More information can be found on the Southern Illinois Made Expo website.

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