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Solvang Chamber of Commerce's 2018 Business Expo set for Oct. 23 is expanding this year as a “Go Green Energy” event, according to Tracy Beard, chamber executive director.

“‘Go Green Energy’ is a phrase we’re using in trying to educate the Valley about using green energy,” Beard said.

As part of that effort, the Business Expo will feature Aera Energy and Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership.

“We want to energize local folks about our industry through education,” said Rick Rust, public affairs project manager for Aera Energy, one of California's largest oil and gas producers, accounting for about 25 percent of the state's production, and one of the Business Expo’s platinum sponsors.

Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership, a Business Expo gold sponsor, is a cooperative program to promote and implement energy efficiency in government, businesses and residential homes.

It is funded by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co., the program is administered by the Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce and includes the cities of Solvang, Buellton, Santa Maria and Guadalupe and Santa Barbara County as partners.

“These new additions make this year's Expo a can't-miss event for our chamber members and the local community,” Beard said.

Scheduled for 4 to 8 p.m. at Hotel Corque and Root 246 restaurant on Alisal Road, the Business Expo will offer outdoor exhibits from local green businesses and energy companies, live music, wine vendors and free food and beer, Beard said.

Keynote speaker will be Michael Kramer of Ameravant Web Studio, and Mix 97.6 FM and Crazy Country 105.9 FM will both broadcast live from the Expo.

Attendees can pick up a Green Passport from the Solvang Chamber booth or at the event check-in table, then visit all 10 Expo spots on the passport and submit it to the Chamber booth to be entered in a drawing for a two-night stay at Hotel Corque, including dinner, Beard said.

The Chamber has also invited both candidates for mayor and all City Council candidates to attend to meet and talk with voters.

Solvang Business Expo gives Chamber members an opportunity to showcase their products and services to the community, build their customer bases, reinforce branding and network with other area business owners.

In addition to Aera Energy, platinum sponsors are Montecito Bank & Trust, Hotel Corque/Root 246, the city of Solvang and Waste Management.

Comcast is joining Santa Barbara County Energy Watch Partnership as a gold sponsor.

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This report was compiled by Mike Hodgson, news editor for the Santa Ynez Valley News. He can be reached at mhodgson@leecentralcoastnews.com.

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