Chamber trade fair proves a big draw for crowds

The hero themed trade fair proved a fun experience for the whole family.

Baby Pierce McKeeman makes his way to his mother

Baby Pierce McKeeman makes his way to his mother

Participation at the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce’s superhero-themed trade fair proved a fun experience for the whole family and numbers were up from last year.

The event was held Friday, April 17 and 18 at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex giving children and parents tons of entertainment, said chamber executive director Les Jaster. He enjoyed walking the aisles and seeing vendors being busy.

“I’m really enjoying the entertainment on the small ice surface as well as the movies over in the IGA movie theatre,” added Jaster.

Increased interest from corporate sponsorship, adding the movie theatre – a new idea that  proved fun for kids – and some of the other events were areas he felt were a positive for the trade fair this year. Jaster said about half the vendors were new and he was pleased to see them happy with the turnout.

One area he feels needs development is the sports activities. On the small ice surface there was an area for youth to try out their curling, basketball, football and golfing skills. This was a first for the chamber and was intended to entice youths to attend.

“Our biggest challenge was the 13 to 19 year old demographic,” said Jaster. “Not sure we hit the mark this year, but now we know what not to do next year.”

He suggests without trying new ideas, planners won’t be able to know what works and what does not.

Besides the large ice surface being full of vendors, the trade fair also had the Market Square with home vendors and a variety of specialty baked items and treats could be bought. Jaster’s goal for the future is to see more than 100 main booths sold.

“I’d love to attract the 13 to 19 demographic. I would like to have more trade fair booths on the small ice surface,” he said.

This trade fair tends to bring in thousands of people and Jaster suggested one reason he feels it is popular is because of the entertainment throughout the weekend and the special annual theme, this year’s being the superhero theme.

The trade fair brought a large variety of vendors, from home improvement companies to car dealerships to local associations and sports teams. In the Market Square, vendors could be found selling homemade treats, crafts and jewelry.

There was an estimated 2,300 people that visited the trade fair over the course of the weekend.