Trade Fair comes Saturday

"Are you looking for a good carpet cleaner, a contractor to build your dream home or a massage? How about a manicure, energy-efficient windows, some unique gift for the in-laws or a nice retirement home to stick your aging parents in?How about a man on stilts to entertain your kids?Though many people may not realize it, local residents can find all these things without leaving the island. Many of the businesses will be on display at the Ninth Annual Uniquely Whidbey Trade Fair and Home Show, Oct. 14 and 15, at the Coupeville High School.Sharleen Eller, the assistant director of the Island District Economic Development Council, said people who attend the trade fair are always amazed by the diversity of businesses that offer services and products locally.In fact, she said making the public aware of local businesses, large and small, is really the focus of the event. It's the old 'buy local' campaign, Eller said. The EDC, which sponsors and coordinates the event, has long promoted buying local since it not only helps local businesses, but provides local government with funding - through sales tax - to operate such necessities as police and fire departments.The Port of South Whidbey originally started the trade fair as way to provide South Whidbey businesses with entrepreneurial education and networking. It was closed to the public at first, but Eller said it became a public event after the EDC took it over.As it grew, we found that it wasn't training that businesses needed so much as exposure, she said.Eller said she expects more than 3,000 people to attend the Trade Fair this year. There will be about 120 vendors representing the entire island, plus presentations from non-profit groups and government groups, like Island County Emergency Management and DARE.There will also be a variety of live performances, to entertain both kids and adults, by the Stiltman, Ubi the Clown, the Magic Shop, Woodward's Tae Kwon Do, the Celtic Society, the Coupeville Dance Center and the Whidbey Whirlers.A show within a show, the Art of Whidbey, will feature Whidbey Island artists and galleries, culinary arts, healing arts, gardening arts and literary arts.---------The Ninth Annual Uniquely Whidbey Trade Fair and Home Show will be at the Coupeville High School Oct. 14 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. About 120 local businesses will have their services are wares on display for the public, plus there will be food and beverages for sale, live entertainment, educational booths, face painting by local cheerleaders, and even a small farm demonstration courtesy of Mystic Knoll Sheep Farm. "

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