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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Businesses, organizations and restaurants will be in the spotlight on Oct. 9, as the Olney Chamber of Commerce hosts its 38th annual Community Night and Taste of Olney.
The annual showcase will take place from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, 17301 Old Vic Blvd.
“Community Night is the chamber’s biggest annual event,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jon Hulsizer said. “Our goal each year is to provide a place where local businesses, nonprofits and civic groups can connect with local residents. They share information about their products or charity, in return for feedback on how they are viewed by the public. It’s an opportunity for marketing and branding, in addition to being a huge, informal focus group.”
The event is billed as the county’s oldest business expo and is expected to draw about 4,000 to 5,000 visitors.
“When we moved Community Night to Our Lady of Good Counsel High School four years ago, we were excited about more than doubling the space and all the paved, lighted parking,” Hulsizer said. “We knew we could accommodate many, many more people, but we’ve been amazed at the continuous growth.”
Community Night had been held at Longwood Recreation Center in Brookeville.
Hulsizer said Community Night not only provides enjoyment for local residents, but it is a crucial fundraiser for the Chamber of Commerce.
“The chamber relies on net income to support the continued presence and maintenance of the Olney Police Satellite Station,” he said. “The chamber brought that facility here almost two decades ago to limit the requirement for police travel back and forth to their headquarters in Wheaton. The result is more capacity for local patrols. I think those patrols, and the physical presence of the Satellite Station, lead to the low crime rates throughout the entire Olney area, along with a greater sense of security and peace of mind for residents.”
Community Night will offer plenty to see, do and taste for children and adults.
Organizers expect about 75 exhibitors.
A new attraction this year will be Hover Solutions, who will fly a large drone above the school’s football field. An enclosed test flight area will be available in the school’s auxiliary gym, where people can take the controls.
Paper bag raffle prizes will range from themed baskets to gift cards for local restaurants and other businesses.
Silent auction items will include Olney Theatre Center tickets, certificates for summer camps, professional photography sessions and more.
The Taste of Olney, held in the school’s dining hall beginning at 5 p.m., will feature restaurants offering a variety of menu choices.
Participating restaurants will include Nirvana Indian Cuisine (coming soon to Olney), El Andariego, Urban Bar-B-Que, Sardi’s Pollo A La Brasa, The Greene Turtle, Mamma Lucia, Cava Mezze, Olney Winery and Rita’s Italian Ice.
Others are expected to join the lineup, but were not confirmed by The Greater Olney News press time.
Even though Chick-Fil-A is not yet open in Olney, the famous cow mascot will attend and be available for photo opportunities.
The popular dance performances, martial arts demonstrations and other live entertainment will take place in Good Counsel’s new Performing Arts Center.
Harris Teeter will again be on site, administering flu shots, and Lions Club members will collect used eyeglasses.
Admission to Community Night is free, but visitors are asked to take a non-perishable food item to restock the pantry shelves at Olney Help.
Tickets for food, raffles and some activities will be sold for $1 each.
There will also be a 50/50 raffle to benefit the chamber’s “Police Officer Noah Leotta Act Responsibly Scholarship.” The scholarship, in memory of the Montgomery County police officer, an Olney resident, who died in 2015 while on duty, is awarded to local high school students committed to pursuing public safety and/or law enforcement careers.
The Shops at Fair Hill, Fitzgerald Toyota, Brooke Grove Retirement Village and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School are this year’s Community Night sponsors.
For more information, go to www.olneymd.org or call 301-774-7117.
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