Trade show plans taking shape

With spring just around the corner, so is the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce’s 19th-annual Home & Leisure Show.
And organizers want to remind businesses that it’s not too late to book a spot at the event, which will run April 27-28 at the Memorial Sports Centre.
Chamber office manager Dawn Booth said yesterday that 23 exhibitors have signed up so far, and there’s plenty of room left for more.
“It’s going very well. Our hope is for 70 exhibitors,” she remarked, adding it’s not uncommon for exhibitors to register weeks or even days before the trade show.
“I’m not worried about it at this point in time,” noted Booth.
Back in January, Booth sent out exhibitor packages to about 500 businesses in Northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, and Minnesota, and she hopes to draw a wide variety of registrants.
One major exhibitor that’s signed up is Badiuk Equipment, which will be back once again with boats and other vehicles in the ’52 Canadians Arena.
Entitled “Tips, Tools & Techniques,” this year’s trade show promises to be bigger and better than ever, said Booth.
One new addition is outdoors columnist Gord Ellis, who is scheduled to hold two workshops on the Saturday—one on fishing and the other on outdoor photography.
Another new face is Borderland magician “Grandpa Magic,” who will perform three shows over the two days.
A third new activity is an amateur photo contest while yet another is a puppy contest, where people can bring in photos of their adorable doggies.
Prizes will be up for grabs with both contests.
Organizers also are hoping exhibitors take the initiative to do more demonstrations.
While the Chamber won’t be staging a demonstration area as it has to mixed success in the past, Booth is encouraging all exhibitors to come in and do their own.
The Chamber handed out comment cards to everyone who went through the show last year and found the public wanted more expert tips and advice, particularly regarding decorating and home improvement.
“We really want to make this as interactive as possible,” stressed Booth. “So we encouraged anyone who is going to sign up to get their suppliers on board or themselves do a demonstration.
“If there’s home improvement or decorating people out there, this would be a great opportunity to reach those customers,” she added.
Booth said the trade show committee also is looking to change other aspects of the event.
For instance, it will not include a major contest, like the putting/safe cracking game that offered up chances to win prizes like pick-up trucks and motorcycles.
Instead, organizers will focus on the photo and puppy contests, having an expanded penny auction area, and enhancing the kids’ corner.
“Of course, all of the exhibitors have draws and prizes, and we’ll still have door prizes,” said Booth. “There will still be opportunities for people to win things, take home samples and whatnot.”
Booth noted the home and leisure show also could use more sponsors—whether they want to provide contest prizes, door prizes, or penny auction items.
Those interested should give her a call.
“There’s always sponsorship opportunities,” she said. “If people can’t necessarily afford to participate in the show, or don’t have the time, they can still be a sponsor.
“We’ll certainly accept their offers.”
The trade show is scheduled for Friday, April 27 from noon-9 p.m. and again on Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Anyone looking to book a booth, be a sponsor, or contribute ideas as to what should be included in the trade show is urged to contact the Chamber office at 274-5773.

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