More than 120 Albany merchants filled the Linn County Fair & Expo Center on Thursday for the 23rd annual Business Extravaganza, drawing about 1,500 visitors, according to Janet Steele, Albany Chamber of Commerce president.

The event, hosted by the Chamber, brings a diverse range of goods and services under one roof for a day of networking and showcasing.

This year’s cosponsors were BlueSun, Inc.; Central Willamette Community Credit Union; Fisher Funeral Home; and Republic Services. 

In one part of the venue, displaying the kind of diversity the show brings, Xtreme Graphx held court just near Allan Bros. Coffee and Tea, which was offering samples of its beverages; Springhill Cellars was pouring miniature samples of its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay; nearby a perfectly restored 1967 VW bus named Happy enticed visitors to the No Dinx Graphics booth; and just across from there the Oregon State Beaver greeted guests at the university’s display. 

Steele said the event offers people the chance to meet and greet business owners, learn about what’s offered in the community, as well as play some games, eat some sweets and enter to win door prizes donated by the vendors.

She said being able to put a face to a business helps build relationships and trust among merchants and customers.

“This is the largest gathering of businesses in the Albany area,” said Steel. “We have major manufacturers here too.”

She added that the event can also double as a job fair, allowing residents to meet with employers both large and small.

Contact reporter Neil Zawicki at 541-812-6099 or neil.zawicki@lee.net