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City Expo was a treat!

No tricks, just treats abounded at the City of Independence, Missouri's City Expo '91 held October 26th. This second annual event was an open house at City Hall and the Police Building for citizens that features a Halloween theme.

When the idea of hosting an open house was first proposed in 1990, it was decided to time it to coincide with two established Halloween events that were held on the Historic Independence Square, located one block from the City government complex. a full day of family-oriented fun was available within the square area with City Expo running from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., followed byt Trick or Treating at Square Merchants from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m. and the annual Halloween Parade held at 4:00 p.m.

More than 19 city departments and divisions participated in City Expo '91. Each department mounted an information display on the services they provide and gave away treats to the kids.

For the second year in a row, Water Pollution Control created a duck pond in front of City Hall and the Fire Department demonstrated rescue and fires suppression techniques. A big hit with the kids has been tours of the Police Department including radio room, firing range and police lab. A special treat this year was demonstrations by the new canine unit.

Finance Department gave away chocolate coins, Law gave out pocket U.S. Constitutions and Water Department face-painted its "Water Willie" mascot on both kids and adults. Independence Power and Light helped educate children about safety using a model train village that had fallen power lines and open gates to transformers. Equipment displays of fire trucks, police cars, utility trucks grading equipment and numerous other vehicles filled the parking lot located between City Hall and the Police Building.

Attendance each year at City Expo has been in the range of 5,000-7,000 people with most departments distributing more than 1,000 treats.

City Expo has proved to be an ideal vehicle to increase the awareness of local citizens as to the many services and functions of city government. By using the Halloween theme, an event that is both informative and fun has been created which brings out the entire family.

The event is coordinated by the Tourism Department with planning beginning in August each year. Departments appoint an internal coordinator who is responsible for activities planned for City Expo. An activity report sheet is written up by each department detailing what its activity and giveaway will be, as well as, listing its set up requirements, i.e., tables, chairs, access to electricity or water. The sheets are forwarded to the Tourism Department and an event plan is written and distributed to all city departments approximately two weeks before the event detailing specific responsibilities for set up.

The event is promoted through press releases, cabel-TV public service announcements and fliers distributed to elementary school children.

More than 200 employees voluntarily participate in City Expo and the resulting interaction and commonality established between all City departments has created its own benefits. City Expo '91 -- it truly was free, family fun for everyone! And, departments are already planning how to make City Expo '92 the thing to do nexy year!
COPYRIGHT 1992 National League of Cities
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:City Ideas That Work; Independence, Missouri
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Jan 13, 1992
Previous Article:Weekly editor Raymond Dick retires from NLC.
Next Article:Ruvin chosen to head Urban Consortium.

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