Why travel miles from home when you can find the same goods and services in your own back yard?
Merchants in the Greater Mount Airy Business Association will be asking that question Saturday as they sponsor their first business exposition.
"Our purpose is to let people know that there are businesses in Mount Airy of all types," said Barbara Clagett, the exposition's publicity manager. "They go to Baltimore, Gaithersburg and Frederick when they could stay in their own hometown.
She said the association hopes to make the exposition an annual event.
About 50 of the town's 300 to 400 businesses will display their wares and services from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mount Airy carnival grounds. The association has 75 members.
"There wasn't room in the hall for them all," said Ms. Clagett, an owner of National Corporate Planners,which plans meetings and expositions for business associations.
During the show, businesses will present displays explaining their wares. Mount Airy Pharmacy, for example, will provide information about over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
Entertainment will include appearances by Team Tornado, a bicycle stunt group from Lorton, Va.; McGruff the Crime Dog; and several McDonaldland characters, Ms. Clagett said.
Team Tornado, she said, is a drill team on bicycles that performs "in an effort to get kids off the street and doing things that are productive."
The youngest performer on the team, which also promotes bicycle safety, is 2 years old, she said.
Food and drinks will be sold at cost or offered free as samples from the Rusty Nail, Beaverbrook Inn, Wagner's and Christi's restaurants, Ms. Clagett said.
Admission to the exposition is free.
Association members hope to make a profit, though, from the $65 that each exhibitor paid to have a booth. Any surplus will go to the business association's scholarship fund.
"We are a non-profit organization, so all excess money goes back into the community to foster business opportunities for Mount Airy," said Ms. Clagett.
Last year the association awarded two $500 scholarships to local college students.
"We hope to be able to do more than that next year," Ms. Clagett said.