It's always a good idea to find out exactly what kinds of businesses, products or events are available in our area.
Whether its an annual parade, a festival, or a fundraiser, the hope of those putting it on is for large crowds to be in attendance and help to make it a success.
It's the same with businesses. Making the public aware of their services and attracting customers is necessary to stay in operation, and if people don't know you're there they can't go to your store, restaurant, street cart or whatever operation you might have.
There are many events in the Ohio Valley which help to showcase what we have to offer, and I encourage everyone to try and check them out when they can.
One such event is taking place Tuesday.
The Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau are, once again, teaming up to hold the Top of West Virginia Showcase and Taste of the Valley.
This combination event has, in one way or another, been taking place for the last several years, but seems to have settled into its current format at the Serbian American Cultural Center. That's where it will be Tuesday, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., and I hope everyone reading this will take some time to come out and look around.
For $5 admission, visitors to this event will have an opportunity to view products, speak to employees and maybe even walk away with some free samples from almost 60 area businesses.
Several restaurants will be on hand as well, offering a taste of some of their food. That's always been a hit and the lines at those tables often last throughout the night.
This event actually started out as two activities, with the CVB holding the Showcase for many years at Mountaineer Casino.
A little over five years ago, the chamber put together its first Taste of the Valley at the Millsop Community Center, bringing in dozens of restaurants to provide free samples to the hundreds who gathered.
Eventually, the two were joined and centralized to help provide better access to the residents of our area, whether they live in Chester, Bethany, Burgettstown or Wintersville.
Oh, by the way, many of the businesses also bring door prizes to the event, which means everyone who is there has the chance to walk away with a little something special at the end of the night.
One of the more interesting twists this year is the inclusion of a cheering competition.
The chamber and CVB have invited four area high school cheering squads to perform for the crowd.
The squad which brings the highest number of adults to support them will get a special prize to help them out with their activities during the year.
So, if nothing else, come on out and cheer on your favorite high school's cheer squad, and get a bite to eat while you're there.
The businesses who show up for this event represent a wide variety of our local business community.
There are businesses both big and small, and all of them are more than happy to take some time to talk to visitors.
Whether you want to learn about the types of Fiesta ware available from Homer Laughlin, the services provided by one of our area's banks or credit unions, the efforts to promote the Upper Ohio Valley through the CVB, a new dish at a local eatery, or perhaps a product at one of our local craft stores, there is certain to be someone or something at the Showcase to meet your tastes and interests.
You can also learn more about the chamber and some of its upcoming events, like the Weirton Christmas Parade.
The Weirton Daily Times will be there, talking about some of our products and services, so stop by and talk to our folks as well. I'm sure I'll be around, too, taking pictures and walking through the crowd.
One of the things I hear in our communities is that there isn't enough for people to do. Well, that simply isn't true.
There are many events always taking place, and there are many businesses I'm sure several of you probably have never heard of.
The Showcase and Taste of the Valley try to change that.
I encourage everyone to take just a little bit of time to come out Tuesday night and learn something new about our area.
You never know. You may find a special gift for someone for the holidays, you might discover a restaurant to try out or you may just find a business that can help you with a problem around the house.
You never know until you take the time to look.
(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)