More than two dozen businesses and community organizations stand ready to meet the public at the fourth annual Discover Westland on Sept. 11.
The free event runs from 5-7 p.m. at the Prairie Township Community Center, 5955 W. Broad St. Visitors will be given a "passport" bearing the names of vendors, said Cathy Johnson, chairperson of the Westland Area Business Association (WABA), which sponsors the event.
After stopping at each vendor and getting the passport signed, visitors can enter a raffle for prizes that include tickets to COSI and the Columbus Zoo. Last year, more than 400 people attended and Johnson said WABA members are eager to tap into local talent, so a job fair has been added to Discover Westland this year.
"We have businesses that are in need and this gives them another opportunity to find people who are looking for jobs," she said. "It's a wonderful addition for folks to see what's available in our area as far as employment opportunities.
"The attendance speaks for itself -- our residents take a great deal of pride it the Westland area."
Discover Westland also will include giveaways, demonstrations and food samples from area restaurants.
Murray Hill Dental is considered a "charter member" of the event and will be back with plenty of free toothbrushes and dental advice, said Troy Walton, who owns and manages the practice with his wife, Dr. Melissa Brown, DDS.
"We are dedicated to our community and their health," Walton said. "Murray Hill Dental was happy to be a part of the first event last year, and now we wouldn't have it any other way."
Students from the South-Western City Schools' culinary arts and hospitality and event-planning programs also will be on hand, Johnson said.
The culinary arts students will show their cooking skills, while the event-planning students are helping to plan Discover Westland from behind the scenes.
"They're doing follow-up calls with the different businesses and we're excited to have their help," Johnson said.
Discover Westland won't affect regularly scheduled programming at the community center, said facilities supervisor Michael Pollack, who oversees the event setup.
"It's definitely a fun event with lots of food samples and unique giveaways," Pollack said.
In addition to the lot at the community center, guests may find additional street parking in the nearby Summerlyn neighborhood.
"The best advice is to try and keep looking for a spot. We always have people coming and going," Pollack said.
WABA still is accepting exhibitors; to sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.