WATCH NOW: Thousands turn out for 31st annual Kenosha Home and Health Expo at UW-Parkside | Local News

David Beckam

SOMERS — The 2022 Kenosha Home and Health Expo brought out large crowds Saturday and Sunday to check out the exhibits and collect hundreds of ideas.

The 31st Expo, which started in 1992, was back in full swing at the Frank J. Petretti Fieldhouse on the University of Wisconsin Parkside for the first time since 2020. A spring expo was not held indoors last year due to the pandemic, with an abbreviated expo held last summer.

This year, more than 100 vendors featuring home improvement and health services, area government agencies, medical centers and businesses turned out for the event. And so did many visitors.

Dave Strash, president and CEO of the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event, estimated final attendance would be between 4,500 and 5,500 visitors.

“We are very excited to be back and so are our exhibitors. Our exhibitors expressed nothing but happiness when questioned how it was going. They had good business the first day. They were very happy. There was a lot of business being conducted yesterday,” Strash said Sunday.

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“There’s been all kinds of great stuff going on – every businesses type imaginable is represented,” he added.

Crowds turn out

Among those attending were area families, including repeat visitors.

“The first time we came, we played the raffle and won the vacation grand prize, so we come every year,” said Justin Perry of Kenosha. He was joined by his wife, Rebecca, and 5-year-old son Jason.

Jason especially loved an exhibit that featured a model train and locomotive.

“That’s why he’s here and, now that we’ve passed that, everything’s just OK, said Perry.

That was, of course, until Jason caught a ride on a Cub mobile car at the Boy Scouts exhibit. Before long, Jason and Boy Scout Troup 544 member Ian Guelke of Pleasant Prairie became fast friends as Ian strapped the younger boy into the kart, towing him around the various exhibits while Jason steered.

Teri Guelke, who coordinates Troop 544, was there to recruit new Cub scouts and Boy scouts during the event.

“This is for the troops and packs in the Kenosha and Pleasant Prairie area and further out west, as well,” she said. Among the things on display were a rain gutter regatta and Cub mobile cars and various knot tying samples.

Brandi Woodard and her 5-year-old son, Miles, of Pleasant Prairie, said they also came to enjoy the various exhibits, as well. But her main purpose was to find out about the services offered by dozens of outfits.

“I came out because we’re in the process of trying to build a house and I wanted to see what vendors were here,” she said. “I also thought it would be good for my son to see some of the stuff in Kenosha.”

Miles said he enjoyed watching some of the demonstrations involving the dogs, as well as the trains. “I liked the trains … because they’re fun,” he said.

Raffle fundraiser

The expo featured The Great Kenosha Raffle, with those in attendance purchasing raffle tickets to win gift cards and baskets donated by area organizations.

All proceeds from ticket sales go to the Kenosha Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation Scholarship Program which offers four $2,500 scholarships to students each year.

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