Amanda Christman chatted with local businesses to learn about her new community while her son, Brandon, 6, dressed up for pictures and played games for prizes.
“We just moved to the area and we thought we would come try this out. It’s a fun activity for the kids and I can see what there is around town for kids to do and what the county has to offer,” Amanda said.
Over 40 vendors and 1,000 people walked through the doors of the Minooka Junior High School Saturday for the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce annual Family Fest.
Chamber executive director Christina Van Yperen said the fest had been held in Minooka for a number of years, last year it was held in Morris and going forward, the event will move around to various Grundy County locations in order to serve all areas of the county.
“The purpose is two-fold. It’s winter and this is a great opportunity for families to come out and burn off energy. We always ask the vendors to offer something for the kids to do so adults can chat about services while the kids have activities,” Van Yperen said. “And local businesses or organizations show off their products or services.”
Van Yperen said the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce hosted the event, and is the parent chamber of the Channahon-Minooka Chamber, which services Will, Grundy and Kendall Counties.
Vendors ranged from civic and nonprofit organizations to businesses that offer products and services. Van Yperen said attendance to the expo has always been open to chamber members and nonmembers, and there are staple businesses that look forward to this event due to its popularity, with new ones on the list each year.
“It’s [attendance] based on location of the expo, some of it’s based on marketing budgets and some based on new members of the chamber,” Van Yperen said.
One business new to Minooka, slated to open in June, was Heritage Woods of Minooka, which is a 101 unit assisted lifestyle facility. Administrator Shannon Deckinga said the construction should be complete for the staff to move in mid May and will admit residents in June.
“We are 33 percent full right now. Some amenities include three restaurant style meals per day, laundry, cleaning once per week, medication reminders and assistance, 24-hour Certified Nursing Assistants, day time nurses, and internal and external activities seven days a week,” Deckinga said.
In the Kid Zone, bounce houses were set up as well as a variety of shows throughout the morning for families, as well as face painting in the main expo room, most sponsored by local businesses.
Family Fest was presented by Exelon and Grundy County Health Department.
Entertainment included hula hooping sponsored by First Community Financial Bank, St. Ann’s football demo, Painting Faces and Spaces face painting sponsored by Hampton Inn and Suites, Dave DiNaso’s World of Reptiles sponsored by Davidson Farms, a dance demonstration by Gina’s School of Dance and bounce houses from Channahon General Rental.
“We have this Kid Zone to advertise the family friendliness of this show. Kids get bored fast. Parents can get more out of it if they can stay longer and everybody thinks businesses when they think of the chamber, but we are community oriented,” Van Yperen said.
Minooka Mayor Pat Brennan also attended the expo and was found chatting among the other revelers.
“It’s a beautiful day to get everybody out and anytime we can showcase our businesses we are way better off; buy local is the main pitch, it helps,” Brennan said.