ST. CLOUD -- The first-ever Made in Minnesota expo was held today at the River's Edge Convention Center in downtown St. Cloud.

The expo featured local businesses and their products that are made here in the North Star State.

The event was free to the public and offered hotdish lunches, trivia and inflatables by Airmaxx for the kids.

Expectations for the event were met and perhaps exceeded as thousands of people attended to check out the Minnesota-made goods.

"This is just great, what an awesome [day]," John Brichacek of Smude's Sunflower Oil says.

"[We] couldn't have asked for a better turnout."

Brichacek says local businesses can really benefit from the exposure they get at events like Made in Minnesota.

"A lot of people don't realize that [great products] come from Minnesota," Brichacek says.

Dave Patrick Otto of Third Street Brewhouse say the event allows a unique and valuable interaction with their customers.

"The most important thing is just being able to make that face-to-face time [with our customers]," Otto says.

"People might think of a brewery as being some sort of faceless company, but it's really just a handful of people really working hard to try to make the best beer possible...and represent the community."

With the first-year success, vendors like Brichacek are already looking forward to future Made in Minnesota expos.

"Absolutely...this is definitely something we're going to do again and again and again."

Photo by Isaac Schweer, WJON