NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. – Within every booth at the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Home and Business Expo on Saturday was someone with a story.
Jason Kallio had one of the largest of booths, the stage in the Northbridge High School auditorium.
He is a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute who worked in corporate America for 11 years. He did a lot of traveling, a lifestyle that’s OK for a single man. Then he married, had children, and set his site on a way of life better suited for a family.
“I took my hobby and my business,’’ he said.
Enter Jason Kallio, the magician, his full-time job for nine years.
He entertains with magic, and at the same time teaches about anti-bullying, fire safety, self-esteem and other important lessons to children and adults. He brings his program to schools and to trade shows and other venues.
In addition, the Northbridge resident does magic and improv comedy shows at the Willowbrook Restaurant in Mendon every Wednesday.
For more information, visit www.sayitwithmagic.com.
Harry Berkowitz, best known for his programs on Northbridge Cable Access television, was retired when his brother James asked him to help market the product of National Equipment Associates, produced in space at the former Whitin Machine Works.
The product is rubbish and recycling carts, but goes beyond the standard to include carts that are critter and bear proof. New Jersey, with an enormous black bear population, is NEA’s largest customer for the bear cart, Berkowitz said.
A display manned by members of the Northbridge Fire Department drew children like moths to a flame where they learned, through the department’s fire safety house, what to do in case of a fire.
They were also entertained by a remote-controlled fire truck, complete with flashing lights and fire safety lessons, which followed some of them around the Expo.
The house and truck were purchased with some leftover funding from a Federal grant the department received a few years ago, said Fire Chief Gary Nestor.
It would be used only two or three times a year if they were used only for Northbridge events, Nestor said, so they’re loaned to area fire departments for special events in other communities.
Northbridge will be seeing a resurgence of its Emergency Management Agency, its need emphasized last year with a tropical storm in August followed by a blizzard in October that left the community in the dark, and some of its residents in need of shelter and supplies.
Staffed by volunteers, its budget had been cut to zero several years ago, but a small amount reinstated by Nestor for the coming fiscal year.
An open house at the NEMA facility and shelter, housed at the Police Department on Piedmont Street, will be held Thursday, March 29 from 3 to 8 p.m.
The event will include refreshments, snacks and information. And new volunteers are always welcome.
For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heavenly Hair does more than beautify from its location in the plaza on Providence Road. Over the last few years, owners Brenda and Steve Couture have spent more than $800 and shipped more than 300 care packages to U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In April, they’re planning a Tan for Troops event, $5 of every tan to be used for care packages. The packages include “pretty much everything we use every day’’ but products not available to them there.
The Expo was a smorgasbord of entertainment, services and food, including its famous Chowder Cook-off.
This year six area restaurants competed for bragging rights to having the "Best in the Valley'' – Brian’s Restaurant, The Hay-Wagon, Laurieann’s Restaurant, Rcks Hill Top and The Valley Café. The People’s Choice was The Valley Café; the Judge’s Choice was Laurieann’s.
The next big event for the Chamber is its 23rd annual golf tournament planned Monday, May 14 at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Sutton.
For more information on the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce and any of its upcoming events, visit http://www.blackstonevalley.org/.
For a photo tour of the event, visit http://www.thedailynorthbridge.com/gallery/thousands-tour-chambers-home-and-business-expo