A really big show

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The 23rd annual Spring Expo drew the largest crowd KRAI station manager Frank Hanel has seen during his time here.

"It's probably the biggest show since, I don't know, maybe ever," he said at the end of the day Saturday.

The event, put on by 93.7/102.3 KRAI-FM, drew enough people to fill Centennial Mall on Friday and Saturday. They were looking to see what companies had for sale and what work local nonprofits were doing.

The event, with the theme "Great Ideas for Home Work and Play," attracted 48 vendors and organizations, the most that Hanel has drawn.

He changed the expo date from the first full weekend in April to the second so that the Craig show wouldn't compete against other shows in the region.

Hanel thinks the change may account for the bigger crowds.

Becky Chitwood's booth stayed busy as passers-by stopped to sample herbal products mixed with oils and cheeses to make dips.

She recently became a Wild-tree Herbs representative out of her home in Meeker, and used the expo to kick off her business.

"I was kind of surprised. I didn't know what kind of resp-onse I'd get," she said.

"The people have been really nice."

Donna Fleetwood, a member of Craig's Downtown Busi-ness Association, came to let the community know about Sammy the Squirrel, a cardboard cartoon character that will travel to various downtown stores as they stay open until 9 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month. The program kicked off Saturday.

When customers see him, they can register to win $50 in downtown bucks.

A drawing April 25 is for a Mother's Day basket, and tickets come with each $10 downtown purchase.

She saw what she said was an incredible amount of traffic move past her space, and the group plans to participate in the event in coming years.

"It's really nice to get the people who are doing good things for the community, to get them exposure," Hanel said.

Some of the weekend's other highlights include several performances by local band 13-40 and wiener dog races Saturday morning.

As Hanel announced during the race's fourth year, the track (a strip down the mall) was surrounded by children and adults who were trying to get a peek.

This is the first year that Hanel has hosted the races at the Spring Expo, as they previously were offered at other community functions.

Brownie, owned by Billy Kiefer, took first place, while Tess, owned by Lyn Cox, placed second.

Janet Camilletti's Sophie took third, and Dana McMillen's Dozer won fourth place.

Hanel is excited to continue the races and watch the expo keep growing.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craig-daily--press.com.

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