HARRISBURG -- Given the uptick in positive COVID-19 cases throughout southern Illinois, Sen. Dale Fowler (R-Harrisburg) and the Southern Illinois Chambers of Commerce have made the decision to postpone this year's Southern Illinois Made Expo, which was originally scheduled to take place on Oct. 9 and 10.
"While I am extremely disappointed that we couldn't hold the event this year, the safety and well-being of our attendees and vendors are our top priorities," said Fowler. "This event is expected to bring in hundreds of attendees and while I look forward to the day that can happen, it's just not realistic now."
The Southern Illinois Made Expo was developed through a partnership between Fowler and the Southern Illinois Chambers of Commerce in 2018 to highlight the region's business community.
Since then, the Expo has served as a premier opportunity for southern Illinois businesses to showcase southern Illinois products and destinations, speak with consumers and sell their goods.
"Due to the pandemic, putting on our annual Expo is requiring more flexibility than we had anticipated, but we are dedicated to doing everything possible to bring this event back to southern Illinois to support our business community," said Fowler. "It's disappointing that we will have to wait a bit longer for the event, but we are already making plans to hold the event in 2022."
"Our business community has withstood so many challenges and hardships over the past year," said Karen Mullins, the Executive Director of the Marion Chamber of Commerce. "We are looking forward to the time when we can bring this event back and show our support to the small businesses in the region."
The Southern Illinois Made Expo has been rescheduled for July 23 and 24, 2022 at the Marion Pavilion.
"Sen. Dale Fowler is a true friend of Southern Illinois. I am sure it was a hard decision for him to postpone the Southern Illinois Made Expo. He put the health of his communities first, and shows his true concern and commitment to the people of Southern Illinois," said Rich Darby, the Chief Operating Officer of Operation Honor Guard. "We support his decision and look forward to any support we receive on behalf of Sen. Fowler and the SI Made Expo."
"The Expo will return in 2022, bigger and better than ever," said Fowler. "We want to thank all of our vendors and sponsors for their continued support as we navigate our way through this pandemic. Their participation, understanding and generosity are greatly appreciated."