An expanded business showcase, complete with something for everyone, will take over the Ponoka Culture and Recreation complex later this month.
Called ‘Experience the Magic of Business’, the 2018 version of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce trade fair — running April 27 and 28 — will utilize both hockey surfaces as well as the curling rink with a theme inspired by the fantasy Harry Potter series.
“We will have a magician, some really cool ‘potion’ demonstrations and the opportunity to take in a variety of excellent experiences for young and old,” explained Heather Bendera, chamber executive manager.
Aside from the usual marketplace and business booths on the hockey side as well as the entertainment stage, the curling rink will be filled with some interesting items and the small ice surface will include some free interactive activities.
“The curling rink will be taken up with the Ponoka Piston Poppers showing off various restored classic vehicles, while Reflections on 66 Collision Centre will have vehicle restoration displays and demonstrations. Honda Red Deer will also be on site with a line up of their new vehicles,” she stated.
“For entertainment, we have magician Chris Gowan who will have three shows on the main stage in addition to performing some tricks as he strolls around the venue. There will also be a scheduled list of local talent performances along with the chance to get in on some virtual reality and Quidditch (the wizard sport in the Harry Potter books).”
Gowan’s main stage shows will be on Friday at 4:15 p.m and Saturday at 11:45 a.m. and 2 p.m., while he will be wandering around the fair and performing between 3 and 4 p.m. on Friday then Saturday between 11 – 11:30 a.m. and 3 – 4 p.m.
As for the Quidditch, an area club will be doing demonstrations and getting people involved in the game throughout the fair, while Ponoka’s Mirage Virtual Reality Arcade will be set up at the fair, offering patrons a free try of their product — which will include escape rooms, interactive video games and other experiences.
“This theme is perfect as it turns out this year is the 20th anniversary of the release of the first (Harry Potter) film and it’s going to be a real treat to have the Quidditch club here to demo the game that is a mix of tag, basketball, broom-ball and soccer,” Bendera said.
“The potions demonstrations that will be done by a great chemistry teacher, will be really cool and we are also bringing Sir Oliver The Great Horned Owl from the Alberta Society for Injured Birds of Prey. The virtual reality will also be fun for all, because sometimes it’s just hilarious watching the people taking part.”
Bendera added the chamber is running a pilot project this year at the trade fair, hosting a pair of youth entrepreneurs.
“One sells wands that he makes, while the other sells balloon creations she comes up with,” she said.
“The hope is this will be the first year doing this and that it will encourage young people with an interest in a business idea.”
Admission to the trade fair will be free for those under five as well as for anyone that shows up in a costume saluting the theme. For the rest, it will be $10 for a family with individual adults paying $4 and $2 for seniors and youth.
Each paid admission will be eligible for one of five $100 gift certificate door prizes from Hamilton’s IGA.