Lifestyles Expo attracts healthy numbers

About 1,500 people walked through the Fort Frances Curling Club on Saturday to check out the 1998 Lifestyles Expo, surpassing organizers’ expectations for turnout.
Committee chairwoman Erma Armit, who had hoped for 1,000 people, declared it an overwhelming success.
“We’re very thrilled,” she said Monday. “As tired as I was [Saturday], I was so excited I couldn’t wind down.”
Armit noted the Lifestyles Expo managed to cover all its expenses this year “not by much” but added total donations still left them in the black.
“We owe a deep debt of gratitude to all the businesses who supported the expo,” she said. “The whole event couldn’t have happened without the businesses, individuals, and organizations.”
The door prize, a weekend for two to Taylor’s Cove, was won by Therese Noonan.
The expo also attracted a full house for exhibitors, with booths ranging from counselling services and nutrition information to remedial massage and skin care.
“Of the 50 booths in the second expo, 19 were from the first [one], which is good,” Armit said. “Things like this have to keep an element of newness.”
One of the new exhibitors was the district 4-H association, which also set up a hot dog stand.
“I think they sold about three cases of hot dogs,” noted Kim Jo Calder, one of the 4-H leaders who ran the booth at the expo. “They did quite well off of that.”
Calder also said she was quite pleased with Saturday’s turnout, noting it gave 4-H a lot of exposure. And they weren’t the only ones.
“We had a lot of people,” remarked Karla Ryan, who worked at the remedial massage therapy booth with Wayne Herod and Tamara Yuskin.
Ryan said she and Herod plan to open a clinic in Fort Frances sometime in August and used the Lifestyles Expo to sort of test the market. And apparently, it cleared up any jitters they had about opening up shop here.
“It was decided before we went in [we’d set up a clinic] but now that we’re been there, we’re definitely going to do it for sure,” Ryan said.
Armit also said she was very pleased with the booths that dealt with children’s issues, noting they were a big hit with adults and kids alike.
“It was neat not having kids wanting to leave when their parents did,” she remarked. “It was kind of special.”
“Celebration activities,” such as performances by the Knox United Church Children’s Scottish Country dancers and the Kateryna Ukrainian dancers, also were held throughout the day.
“We wanted to take into consideration the different aspects of the community that make it unique,” Armit noted. “Of course, our cultural groups are a part of that.”
In fact, several comments were made to organizers that the Lifestyles Expo could breathe a little life back into “Culturama,” which was cancelled this year due to rising expenses and falling attendance.
But Armit stressed that will have to be a decision of the whole committee, adding that the expo “was not intended to replace Culturama.”
Another decision the committee will have to make next is when to hold the next Lifestyles Expo. There’s been 18 months between shows, with the inaugural one being held in the fall of 1996.
“There may be some potential in holding it every year-and-a-half,” Armit said. “The fall one attracts certain groups and the spring one attracts certain groups.
“We’ll see what the feedback from the booth participants is like,” she added, noting it has all been positive so far.
“We’d like some input from the community, as well,” she continued. “This is intended to be a community venture. Please contact some of our committee members [with your comments].”