SI Made Expo goes online as COVID-19 limits big events | Local News

“There are diamonds and jewels hidden all over Southern Illinois,” Mike Beard of the Jefferson

“There are diamonds and jewels hidden all over Southern Illinois,” Mike Beard of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce said this week during a video news conference to announce the change to this year’s festivities, which were originally scheduled for late July.

Jared Gravatt, of Crown Brew Coffee in Marion, said when he was originally approached to participate in the expo in years past, he wasn’t sure what to think, but after selling out of his product there, he was a fan.

“(It) really showcased the beauty of our region in the way we think it deserves,” he said during the news conference.

So, when Fowler approached him about doing a video to promote the business in lieu of an in-person event, he was in.

So was Judy Hoepker of Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch in Makanda.

“We love Sen. Fowler,” she said, later adding that she appreciates the work Fowler has done to make sure the expo and its vendors have some kind of presence this year, even if it’s just online videos.

“It meant a lot, it really did, that he wanted to come here,” Hoepker said.

Southern Illinois Healthcare yet again on Wednesday was treating a record number of COVID-19 patients between its Carbondale and Herrin hospitals.

Fowler said it’s not been an easy task — he said he and his team have visited as many as five vendors in a day.

“The feedback’s been great,” he said of his team’s work.

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