Chamber sets sights on Quest for the Best

By Allan Bradbury
Staff Writer

With the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce Business Expo wrapped up, the organization now shifts its focus to another major event on its calendar.

Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce director Heather Johnson was very pleased with how the expo went over.

“I think it went very well,” Johnson said. “We had a much higher participation from the public, we had a lot more come through the doors [than last year]. We did a couple of things different this year, different booths that were very well attended. The Jail or Bail with the Lion’s Club, then the OPP were here with all of their equipment and outside with the fire trucks they had the big OPP boat. So it drew in a lot of people with flashing lights and kids love to see all that stuff.”

Over the course of the weekend Johnson estimates at least 400 people came through the event which featured 34 different businesses or organizations from the Fort Frances area and Rainy River district. She says they can’t be exactly sure because some people might have stayed outside or just gone to the bouncy castles across the street.

“It was a great atmosphere all weekend,”Johnson said. “It was nice that it didn’t rain all weekend [like last year]. Lots of people were catching up with each other. Because last year with the flooding and we still had a bit of COVID going on in town it seemed much more like everybody was getting out and enjoying all the things this year.”

The Lion’s Club Jail or Bail was back for the first time after several years’ break due to COVID. This year it made its return in an effort to raise funds for the Make a Big Splash campaign to revitalize the Legion Park on Lillie Ave. The Chamber of Commerce also made a donation in kind to the campaign by giving the committee space at the expo to showcase the plans for the upgrades to the park.

With the expo behind the Chamber of Commerce now looks to its next major event. Quest for the best is a singing competition that takes place each year under the big tent at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship.

Johnson is starting the process of asking for sponsorships for this year’s competition.

“I’m just starting now with our donation requests for the prizes from our usual sponsors,” Johnson said. “We’ll get those sent out this week and we do have a couple new businesses hoping to help out this year so that’s great.”

Last year Quest for the Best saw a great turnout in its comeback from COVID-19 and Jaycob Ryll took the crown.

Johnson says applications for singers will be out soon and they’ll be asking the house band The Faculty to play alongside once again this year.

The competition traditionally happens on Friday night of the bass tournament which would make it July 21, this year. The bass tournament runs from July 20-22.

Keep an eye out for more information about applications and event tickets as the night draws closer.