For the first time, Henry County Public Schools (HCPS) won Best in Show on Wednesday for its booth at the Fast Track trade show.
Casting Logos won the Exhibitors’ Choice ribbon, which was voted on by other booth sponsors.
The annual trade show, which is organized by the Martinsville-Henry County Chamber of Commerce, took place Tuesday and Wednesday at a building behind the Clocktower at Commonwealth Centre.
HCPS’ brightly colored booth was focused on the advanced technology used by county students, according to schools Director of Technology Janet Copenhaver. Electronic devices were mounted on the walls of the booth, and visitors were free to play with the devices.
“We’re showcasing some of our technology that we use in the schools every single day, particularly our iPads,” Copenhaver said. “It’s easy to showcase technology, because everyone wants to look at it and see what it does. We had a lot of people visit us.”
Copenhaver said that HCPS has won ribbons at the Trade Show in previous years, but never Best in Show.
“We were kind of hoping for best non-profit,” she said, “but we were shocked when they said Best in Show.”
The booth for Exhibitors’ Choice winner Casting Logos featured a small stage, where employees modeled some of the company’s creations in a miniature fashion show.
According to Casting Logos marketing and promotions manager Brynn Burger, vendors and attendees who were wearing products made by Casting Logos also were invited onstage to model their wares.
Casting Logos offers screen printing, embroidery, vinyl decals, engraved items and promotional products for both businesses and individuals, Burger said. In fact, she said, the HCPS booth featured both vinyl decals and T-shirts made by Casting Logos.
“I’m very proud of” the award, Burger said. “We worked really hard. To win the Exhibitor’s Choice is huge, because that means other businesses noticed us. We’re very proud of that.”
In the nonprofit category, Martinsville Henry County SPCA won first place, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) won second and Piedmont Arts won third.
SPCA Executive Director Nicole Harris said that it has been about four years since the organization won the ribbon.
The SPCA display featured a kissing booth where attendees could make a donation to the organization and be rewarded with a smooch from one of the shelter’s dogs.
“We had some high-profile Martinsville celebrities kissing dogs,” Harris said. “It was great.”
The booth also featured three dogs up for adoption. By the end of Wednesday evening, two had been adopted.
“It’s great for our animals to socialize,” Harris said. “They get a lot of extra food and treats while they’re here.”
PHCC faculty member Mike Bryant was “instrumental” in creating the college’s second-place winning booth, according to PHCC STEM Dean Steve Branch.
“We really look forward to this event every year,” Bryant said. “People don’t realize what the college offers to the community. That’s one of the biggest things with us being here: we can represent the whole college with one booth.”
The booth was made up of four rental spaces, Bryant said, showcasing a variety of PHCC programs, including STEM, drama, motorsports and even non-credit courses such as glassmaking and ballroom dancing.
“It took a lot of effort from everybody at the college to make it happen,” Bryant said.
The third-place winning Piedmont Arts booth was focused on the organization’s Dancing for the Arts program, according to director of marketing Bernadette Moore and finance manager Pam Allen.
The March 22 event will feature local celebrities in a dance competition in support of the arts in Martinsville and Henry County, Allen said.
“The dancers have been with us (Tuesday and Wednesday) drumming up votes for themselves,” Allen said.
Visitors to the booth could vote for their favorite local dancer, and if they chose to join the organization, they could double their vote.
In the for-profit category, Jim Mills Automotive placed first, HD Web Studio placed second and Blue Ridge Village placed third.
The Jim Mills booth, which was made up of six rental spaces, featured a 2014 Jeep Wrangler Sahara on one side and a 2014 Nissan Rogue on the other. The booth was manned by James Smith, Bobby Rorrer, Chad Trammell and Tommy Adkins, who respectively work in the collision, Dodge parts, Nissan service and Nissan parts departments of the company.
“It’s been really good seeing people come by,” Rorrer said, “just speaking to people and seeing people’s smiling faces. I think it’s good for the businesses to be here and let people see them.”
The theme of second-place winner HD Web Studio’s booth was relaxation, according to Masha Edelen and Beth Deatherage, owner and employee, respectively, with the web design firm.
“We wanted to create an atmosphere of relaxation,” Deatherage said. “If you do business with us, you can kick back and take it easy.”
On Tuesday night, visitors to the booth could register to win a five-minute massage at the booth. It also featured a small fountain, orange-flavored water and a fabric canopy strung from the ceiling.
“We got third place last year,” Edelen said. “We’re climbing up. We try to make it fun and try different concepts each year.”
The theme of the third-place booth was “Happy Days are at Blue Ridge Village,” according to marketing director Tilisa Riddle.
The booth, which was organized in conjunction with Dippers Ice Cream, featured a 1950s malt shop atmosphere with Coca-Cola and root beer floats.
“When you’re at venues like this,” Riddle said, “there are so many exciting things going on, a lot of times people may not want to come and talk about a nursing home. We understand that. ... If we can make it fun and upbeat and exciting, then people will come and check us out, and then we can tell them about all the services we have at Blue Ridge Village.”