Business owners will be out in force here Saturday at the ninth annual Expo sponsored by the Hampstead Business Association.

The fair,from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at North Carroll High School, gives businessesa chance to show their wares, said co-chairwoman Dottie V. Wilhelm.

"It also gives the people of Hampstead a chance to meet the owners, discuss things and find out what they offer," she said.

Last year, about 6,000 people attended the Expo, association past president Otis K. Comstock Sr. said.

Admission is free.

About 50 booths will be set up in the high school's cafeteria and hallways, he said. Seven non-profit groups, including the Cub Scouts, public library and fire department, also will have booths, said Wilhelm, manager at Rittenhouse Fuel Co.

Special events, including entertainment and drawings for prizes, are planned throughout the day.

At the end of the Expo, the association will give away two $500 shopping sprees at Hampstead businesses. People may register as they enter, Comstock said.

On the day of the shopping spree, the winners will be picked up at their homes in a limousine and escorted to the various stores.

About 130 of the 271 businesses in the Hampstead area are association members, he said.

At 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., dancers from Rhythm and Shoes, a studio on Main Street, will give 35-minute performances, Wilhelm said.

At 1:45 p.m., products from area businesses will be auctioned off. The items include small appliances, watches, a cedar chest, flower arrangements, an electric garage door opener and a 16-piece dinnerware set, she said.

Bids will be taken on paper until the auction begins. The auctioneer then will start the bidding for the items with the highest written bid, Wilhelm said. If no one bids higher at the auction, the person who put in the written bid will get the item,she said.

Several businesses also will be doing demonstrations during the day, she said.

Attitudes Unlimited, a hair-styling salon,will demonstrate how to braid hair. Timeless Creations will show flower arranging. New Skin Products will do a facial, and Jean Rauser's Inc., a cosmetology business, will do a make-over.

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