History of the Expo
In January of 2015 the idea was presented by Joe Tabeling to Mike McMullin and Peggy Soper of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. They liked the idea but were concerned whether the event could be pulled off with limited staff. Receiving assurance from Joe, plans to hold the event in April were set in motion. The initial thought was to hold a small event with one to two speakers and about a dozen exhibitors. By the end of January and with the help of Linda Auerbach of the Carroll County Health Department, Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo , Jim DeWees of the Carroll County’s Sheriff’s Department, and the Carroll County AG Center, the expo grew to over 40 exhibitors, six speakers, multiple demonstrations and a display of crime fighting equipment.
In April 2015, after only ten days of advertising, the first annual “Drug and Violence Awareness Expo” open its doors to the public. The event was kicked off with opening ceremonies presided over by Carroll County Chamber of Commerce president Mike McMullin and Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo with various mayors, councilmen and law enforcement present. The expo ran until 4pm with almost 500 attendees.
In August of 2015, Mr. Tabeling accompanied by Peggy Soper from the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, Linda Auerbach from the Carroll County Health Department and Carroll County State’s Attorney Brian DeLeonardo presented the event to the supervisors of the Carroll County School System. By a unanimous vote the decision was made to make the attendance to the expo mandatory for all eighth-grade students and high school students enrolled in health classes.
In April 2016 the “Drug and Violence Awareness Expo” open to an expanded audience of over 2,500 students with more than 60 exhibitors and more than double the crime fighting vehicles on display.
In January 2017 the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce received a proclamation from Governor Hogan declaring April “Drug and Violence Awareness” month. In April 2017 with the support of the Carroll County School system the expo was held once more with over 2,500 students and several hundred local citizens attending.
In April 2018 the expo was held for the third time with the addition of accredited health classes being offered to various professionals throughout the Carroll County Community. Several representatives from other counties came to learn firsthand about the event with the interest of presenting a similar expo to their residents.
In January 2019 Governor Larry Hogan recognized the expo for its accomplishments. In April the fifth annual “Drug and Violence Awareness Expo” was held with Lieutenant Governor Floyd Rutherford and Executive Director Glenn Fueston representing the governor’s office, presented the State of Maryland’s plan to address the issues troubling its citizens. Through the world of YouTube, the expo was exposed to several doctors in Iran. Having similar issues in their country and having challenges presenting education to their students, several representatives plan to attend. Unfortunately, due to layovers they were not able to attend.
In March 2020 COVID-19 hit and reluctantly the expo was cancelled for the year. In December the Carroll County Chamber along with major support from the Carroll County School System decided to convert the expo into an online event and to include it as part of the eighth-grade curriculum. The new direction is projected to expose the event to a wider audience with access throughout the entire year instead of one day.