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Young Business: Children unveil products at weekend business fair

From sweet treats to handcrafted items, future young entrepreneurs from the region were able to showcase their talents over the weekend in Elizabethton.

Over 20 children worked 17 booths during the inaugural Children’s Business Fair at Cat Island Park and results surpassed expectations, according to Kelly Kitchens.

Elizabethton Parks and Recreation spearheaded the endeavor and the programs coordinator was quick to pass along praise to all the children in attendance.

“Whenever we first came up with this concept a few months ago, we were able to receive a lot of feedback and that was great to see,” Kitchens said. “We really, truly didn’t know what to expect. We’ve been able to see the products today and we’re just super impressed with what they’ve been able to produce and create. Today has blown away all of my expectations.”

A variety of sponsors helped make the event possible, Kitchens added, including Northeast Community Credit Union, Grandslam Inflatables, Jiggy Ray’s, Top Dog Hotdog, Koana Ice and each of the businesses that set up in the park.

“My first goal was to just have 10 vendors for the event,” Kitchens said. “This definitely surpassed our goal.”

Participants were also in the running for different awards, including best business potential, most creative business idea and best presentation. Young business owners that participated were between 7 to 18 years old.

One of the participants Saturday was Chloe Welty. Already a seasoned veteran in the business game, Welty was able to showcase various candles and other scented products to the public.

Welty said she got the idea from her grandmother, who is also a business owner, and was able to make the business last year and was able to see it grow since.

Across from Welty was Samara Stevens, who wowed the crowd with various cartoon drawings thanks in part to her business, “Samara’s Fun World Cartoon Drawings.”

Stevens was quick to crack a smile when asked about the opportunity to participate in the event.

“It means everything to me,” she said about Saturday’s fair. “I’ve been waiting for this day since I saw the event online.”

Following into the artistic world, Noah Rhinehart added he got into the art business after seeing his family do work in painting and photography.

Due to the success over the first year, Kitchens added the department is already looking ahead for next year’s installment.

And for people looking to get involved next year, or even wanting to start their own business, Welty was quick to give some advice.

“Just go for it,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to go for your dreams.”