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SI Made Expo organizers are taking the event virtual

  • Judy Hoepker, right, and Morgan Stevenson, owners of Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch intruduce their residents to Sen. Dale Fowler. See more photos on page 5.

    Judy Hoepker, right, and Morgan Stevenson, owners of Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch intruduce their residents to Sen. Dale Fowler. See more photos on page 5.
    Christian Murray photo

  • Sen. Dale Fowler visits with Lennie Shelton at the entrance to Camp Manitowa near Benton.

    Sen. Dale Fowler visits with Lennie Shelton at the entrance to Camp Manitowa near Benton.
    Christian Murray photo

  • Kevin McDonald, right, visits with Sen. Dale Fowler at Specialized Equine Services and Therapeutic Riding near Giant City.

    Kevin McDonald, right, visits with Sen. Dale Fowler at Specialized Equine Services and Therapeutic Riding near Giant City.
    Christian Murray photo

  • Chris Gualdoni, left, explains his business operation to Sen. Dale Fowler. Gualdoni is the owner of Louie's Season Co., located in Johnston City.

    Chris Gualdoni, left, explains his business operation to Sen. Dale Fowler. Gualdoni is the owner of Louie's Season Co., located in Johnston City.
    Christian Murray photo

  • Tammy Chandler, owner of Granny Pickett's Cupcakes in Herrin meets with Sen. Dale Fowler.

    Tammy Chandler, owner of Granny Pickett's Cupcakes in Herrin meets with Sen. Dale Fowler.
    Christian Murray photo

  • Carbondale Chamber of Commerce president Tom Davenport meets with Sen. Dale Fowler.

    Carbondale Chamber of Commerce president Tom Davenport meets with Sen. Dale Fowler.
    Christian Murray photo

  • Pheasant Hollow Winery owner Andrea Pontious discusses the new wines with Sen. Dale Fowler.

    Pheasant Hollow Winery owner Andrea Pontious discusses the new wines with Sen. Dale Fowler.
    Christian Murray photo

  • Sen. Dale Fowler and Extreme Extigency owner Ray Minor.

    Sen. Dale Fowler and Extreme Extigency owner Ray Minor.
    Christian Murray photo

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@localsouthernnews.com
Posted on 10/16/2020, 12:36 AM

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS -- Like just about every other major event, COVID-19 forced the cancellation what would have been the third annual SI Made Expo in July.

"I'm very disappointed," said Sen. Dale Fowler, who spearheaded the event that began in 2018 and has proved to be a rousing success the first two years, "but it's clearly the responsible thing to do."

However, Fowler couldn't just give it up for the year.

"We wanted to keep the momentum going," he said, "so we're taking it virtual."

That takes coordination and a series of video shoots.

Fowler and his staff spent two days last week trekking across southern Illinois, meeting with business owners who would have been represented at the Pavilion in Marion, the traditional home for the SI Made Expo.

Fowler said they completed about a dozen shoots in just under days and there are many more to complete before the project launches in November.

"They are long days," he said, "but worth it. We're doing everything we can to promote the vendors and destinations."