Support the #shoplocal Movement

Convenience.  It’s something that from a societal point of view we have come to cherish.  But at what point does convenience become more important than supporting your fellow man?  Sure, chain stores are one-stop-shops of purchasing power suitability, but admit it, there is something about shopping local that just feels better, right?  Not only are you keeping your own hard earned money in your community, but also at the same time you are ensuring that your money is helping out an entrepreneurial neighbor who, like you, is just trying to make it in the world, and not some ever-changing price index on Wall Street. 
 
So when convenience gets spliced with the opportunity to be a good neighbor, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to take advantage of the occasion.  On Oct. 24-25 the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism has an opportunity that should not be missed.  In case you are not familiar with it, allow yourself to be introduced to the third annual W.I.L.M.A. Expo at the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds.   
 
W.I.L.M.A. (short for We Invite Local Manufacturers & Artisans) is an event that the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism created in order to help showcase some of the fine local businesses that reside in this area.
 
Last season, according to Deborah Miller of the Development, Planning and Tourism department, there were 25 vendors at the expo.  This season she stated that they are hoping to have 35 vendors participating in the event. 
 
As with just about everything, variety is the spice of life.  And W.I.L.M.A. has some excellent variety.  “We have quite a variety of vendors,” said Miller.  “Anything from goat milk soaps to handmade children's clothing.  Other vendors include handmade jewelry, wooden baskets, rubber mats made from recycled tires, candles, all natural cleaning supplies, and much, much more.”
 
With a selection like that, it’s no wonder that W.I.L.M.A. saw its attendance grow 130% between year one and two.  Based on that kind of uptick, it’s a safe bet to say that year three will be even more engaging for participants and vendors alike.  Cattaraugus County has an array of artistic talent within its borders so the chances of seeing some rather eye-opening wares are definitely high.
 
W.I.L.M.A. isn’t just for people with purchasing power though.  This is a family friendly showcase for people of all ages.  There will be “a kids corner with coloring contest, guessing games and our famous Wooly Bear Races,” said Miller.  “We incorporated a weather prediction with WILMA the wooly bear and the Chairman of the Legislature and Chairman of the Development and Agriculture Committee.  We have Wooly Bear Caterpillars there for the kids to see and learn about. “ 
 
Was it mentioned that donations of South Dayton donuts and Pumpkinville cider have been made that will be handed out to attendees free of charge?  So make your way over to the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds on Oct. 24 (10am-5pm) and Oct. 25 (11am-3pm).  Between the free admission, the fantastic free food, and the ability to meet local merchants whom you might otherwise not come across, there is no reason not to miss out on W.I.L.M.A. this year.
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