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RUTLAND, Vt. -- Vermont's biggest food show, the 71st annual Vermont Grocers exposition, hosted by the Vermont Grocers' Association (VGA), will take place Friday, Sept. 16 to Sunday, Sept. 18 at the Wyndham Burlington Hotel in Burlington, Vt. and the Robert E. Miller Exposition Center in Essex Junction, Vt.
The Expo, which will offer a wide assortment of products and services for food and beverage retailers, will feature such seminars as "In Search of Freshness Store-wide" and "Responsible Alcohol and Sales Training." Awards will be presented at the chairman's dinner on Saturday, Sept. 17. Among the other expo events are the VGA-Farrell Golf Outing at the Links at Lang Farm and a competition for the state's food retailers to win the state title for best bagger, the winner of which will have the chance to represent Vermont at the national competition in Las Vegas this winter. Last year's winner of Ben Powden of Lantman's in Hinesburg.
The association additionally runs several fundraisers for the Vermont Grocers' Scholarship Fund during the expo. This year alone, Vermont students received $20,000 from the VGA.
"We are gearing up for an increase in registrations, especially with the new events and totally new venue planned this year," said VGA president Jim Harrison in a statement. "Last year's attendance totaled nearly 1,200 people." VGA director of communications and events Donna Hogan told Progressive Grocer that new events included an opening-night ceremony with a "Margaritaville" theme and a special scholarship silent auction that will take place at the expo center during trade show hours.
The VGA is a statewide organization of almost 700 retail stores and 150 suppliers to the industry.