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(March 1, 2013) The Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association’s Spring Trade Expo has flourished since its inception 39 years ago, when products and services were featured in 26 booths. This year’s event, set for Sunday and Monday, March 3-4, will be the largest yet, with approximately 300 exhibiting companies filling about 415 booths at the Ocean City convention center.

According to Susan Jones, HMRA executive director, quite a few first-time exhibitors will attend the 39th annual event. Exhibitors will offer the latest and greatest goods and services for the industry. The show also provides one-stop shopping for customers.

“The purpose of the show is to bring buyers and sellers in the hospitality industry to-

gether,” she said. “It’s a chance for them to network and interact with each other.”

Vendors will also have the opportunity to meet new clients. Many exhibitors will offer special deals available only to attendees.

Several chefs from the Maryland and Washington, D.C. areas will present cooking demonstrations in the Culinary Corner, in the 40th Street venue’s ballroom on the second floor. The first chef to take the stage will be Mike Isabella. His cooking demonstration is scheduled for noon on Sunday. He will sign copies of his book, “Crazy Good Italian,” which will be available for $35.

Isabella is a Washington, D.C.-based chef and restaurateur, owner of Italian-inspired small plates restaurant, Graffiato, and partner of Bandolero, a modern Mexican concept in Georgetown, Del. He was named Food & Wine magazine’s “People’s Best New Chef Mid-Atlantic” for 2012, he appeared on season six of Bravo’s Top Chef and he was the runner-up on Top Chef All-Stars.

“I’m thrilled to have him here. Beyond thrilled, actually,” Jones said.

The cooking demonstration schedule is available on the expo Web site, www.oceancitytradeexpo.com.

While Isabella will prepare an Italian dish from his cookbook — goat cheese gnudi with basil, Prosciutto and tomato, other chefs will make seafood entrees using a variety of fish, including snakehead, blue catfish, yellow perch and striped bass, as well as oysters and crabs.

Maryland DNR Seafood Marketing Director Steve Vilnit will discuss the species being prepared as the chefs share their preparation techniques.

Attendees can also sample local craft beer, wine and spirits during the expo.

A number of educational seminars will be available for attendees. They are free to attend and will take place upstairs in room 210. Topics include ways to generate sales by collecting consumer data, Affordable Healthcare Act and how to save money on electric bills and generate income from the production of on-site energy in the form of renewable energy credits.

The full seminar schedule is available on the expo Web site.

Approximately 4,000 people attended the 2012 expo. Jones said more than 4,600 pre-registered for the 2013 show, which is only open to those in the industry. Guests must be in the lodging or dining industry, the liquor or convenience store business, cafeteria, nursing home, hospital or school.

“It’s the most pre-registered attendees we’ve had,” she said.

Expo hours are Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On-site registration costs $10 with proof of being in the industry. Attendees must be at least 21 years of age. For more information, call 410-289-6733 or visit www.oceancitytradeexpo.com.

More than 4,000 people attended the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association’s 38th annual spring trade expo, and approximately 275 exhibiting companies filled about 400 booths at the convention center last year. This year’s event, set for Sunday and Monday, March 3-4, will be the largest yet, with approximately 300 exhibiting companies filling about 415 booths.
Lisa Capitelli, Ocean City Today
Managing Editor Lisa Capitelli, a New York native, entered Salisbury University (then Salisbury State) in the fall of 1998 and graduated in the spring of 2002 with a Bachelors of Arts degree. She majored in communication arts, and minored in art, with concentration on photography. Lisa began her career at Ocean City Today as a staff writer in February 2003. She was promoted to Assistant Editor in August 2011 and Managing Editor in May, 2013. Editorial responsibilities include covering sports — from local high school games, to fishing tournaments and recreation and park programs, the business community and weekly happenings, events and activities.

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