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Huntington Chamber’s sports-themed trade show is a big hit

May 3, 2019

HUNTINGTON - Over 300 people came dressed as their favorite team or sports icon at the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce’s ninth annual Business After Hours Trade Show event at the Conference Center at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Thursday.

“One of my favorite aspects of this annual event is how fun it is,” said Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Bissett. “With people dressing up as their favorite sports team or athlete and decorating their exhibits, they are able to network and learn more about our business community, but also do so in a less formal and more fun environment.”

A ribbon cutting took place to kick off the sports-themed event titled “Sports! Let the Games Begin!” that featured 63 local businesses.

This year’s event was presented by Huntington Bank, which also won first place in the booth-decorating contest with its Kentucky Derby theme.

“We wanted to stand out and add a little flair as well,” said Terresa Pratt, community president of Huntington Bank. “With the Kentucky Derby coming up this weekend, we felt this was the perfect theme for our booth.”

Second place went to Ohio Valley Bank with its fictional literary sport of quidditch, a sport played by witches and wizards riding flying broomsticks in the “Harry Potter” series.

“We decided to go a little untraditional this year, and everyone seems to like our booth,” said Maranda Prevatt, assistant branch operations manager at the bank’s Barboursville location. “We really enjoy this event because it’s a great opportunity to network with other businesses in the area, meet new people and just have a good time.”

Third place went to Studio 291, a marketing agency and production company based on Adams Avenue, with its “Super Bowl” theme that featured a table football game.

“Any opportunity to promote your business and get to know other businesses in the community is great, and that is what makes this a fantastic event,” said Josh Edwards, director of photography at Studio 291.

Honorable mention went to Manpower for its hunting theme, “Talent Hunters.”

Other sponsors included Cabell Huntington Hospital as gold sponsor; Marshall University Athletics, Marshall University Career Services and Enterprise Rent-A-Car as bronze sponsors; and Walmart and The Herald-Dispatch as event sponsors.

“The chamber’s annual trade show is a unique opportunity to celebrate regional businesses and to show support for the companies that make our community a great place to work and live,” Bissett said. “Sourcing products and services that you can purchase locally is a valuable benefit of this event that showcases our region and further strengthens our local economy.”

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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