March Madness may be months away, but some are already preparing for an event themed by the college basketball national championship.
Focusing on personal fitness and well-being, the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce's annual Health and Wellness Showcase hopes to bring excitement to the March 15 event by channeling the energy of March Madness and moving to a new venue.
With a theme of Health Madness: Road to Better Health, the showcase will feature exhibitors from across the county as well as those doing business in Bartow. Beginning Tuesday, organizations may register for booths on a first-come, first-served basis. At registration, businesses will have their choice of where their booth is located.
"On Tuesday, we will have committee members [at the Chamber] at 8 a.m. to start signing visitors up and we will be focusing on Health and Wellness-type businesses, but that is not to exclude anyone. Of course, banks would practice financial health for the coming year and we can tie it in. But our overall theme this year is Health Madness," said Leslie McMillan, community partners director.
Vendors are invited to decorate their booths, wear jerseys to the showcase, play basketball-related games or provide any other themed offering.
"There's a sense of urgency starting Jan. 11 to get that first selection of the booths to come and get one of those first picks that your booth will get a great location, but there's really not a bad location in the venue. Being at the Clarence Brown Conference Center, we think that will bring more interest to the event as well," McMillan said.
Although the first of the year is a prime time for getting in shape and beginning a healthier lifestyle, the Chamber's spring offering is designed to increase awareness of local businesses within the health industry. Many participating businesses offer health screenings and free tests each year as a complimentary service to guests at the showcase.
"A lot of insurance policies for businesses and individuals come due early in the year. So that ties in, as well as a lot of healthcare policies expire and they're renewed this time of the year. The first of the year is important because people, for a period of time, are paying attention a little more closely to what they're doing in their habits, trying to change some of their ways," said Kay Read, president and CEO of the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce. "We do have exhibitors who have little or nothing to do with health and wellness but the focus is on who is available in this healthcare area."
Sponsorship titles have also been dubbed accordingly, Communit-Y Health Network is this year's 'National Champion' but sponsorships for the 'Elite Eight' are still available. Patrick Nelson, Health and Wellness Showcase committee chair and CHN's director of the Healthy Bartow Initiative, has worked with committee members to create a substantial event from which visitors can leave with applicable information and resources.
"We're hoping to do basically the same thing we do in our job everyday, which is just trying to promote health and a better lifestyle for folks. It's critical for us to reach as many people as we can. We think this is a great avenue for that and trying to get the public involved and aware of what's out there for health and wellness," Nelson said.
The showcase will display demonstrations which in the past have included healthy cooking, dance routines and group fitness. Games and prizes will also be available for those in attendance.
Held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center on Tuesday, March 15, the Health and Wellness Showcase will be open for networking from 3 to 5 p.m., admission is a business card. After the business to business networking session, the showcase will open to the public from 5 to 7 p.m., admission is either two nonperishable food items or $2.
Booth registration beginning Tuesday morning at the Chamber's Cartersville office, 122 W. Main St., is $250 for Chamber members registering before Jan. 21, and $300 after the early registration date. The fee is $400 anytime for non-members.