Usually 3

Usually 3

Full house for trade fair

All booths are booked at the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce trade fair this year.

All booths are booked at the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce trade fair this year. There is even a waiting list on booths should one open up, explains chamber manager Les Jaster.

Between 3,000 to 5,000 people usually browse the different booths at the trade fair, which is going to be held at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation complex April 19 and 20.

“I’d love to see a full house,” he said.

Former manager Lana Johnson was asked to help as this is Jaster’s first time organizing the event. She handled the advertising and showed him the ropes for next year. His hope is to gain new contacts for next year and make sure things run smoothly.

“We try to give customers some variety,” he added.

Chamber president Jim Hamilton says there are two reasons for organizing the trade fair: first it is as a fundraiser, “but it’s also to raise the profile of the community.”

As part of the “It’s a Jungle in Here” theme 20 trips to the Calgary Zoo will be given away. The winners will take a chartered bus to the zoo with free admission and a $35 food pass.

Hamilton feels having Johnson assist with organizing worked for everyone involved. “We seem to have connected really well.”

He looks forward to the different events as well as seeing members of the community attend.

Different exhibitors

Presenters range from car dealerships to a jungle photo booth on the main ice surface and the Ponoka Farmer’s Market on the small ice surface.

Those interested in historic photos of their farm can look forward to seeing the archives of Homestead Aerial; owner Kim Bessette has negatives dating back to 1953. Bessette bought the business in 1993 from a man who used to fly around the province taking pictures of homes and would sell the pictures to the owners.

Whether looking at the old farmhouse or new owners seeing what the property looked like 20 years ago, Bessette feels there is value in knowing how properties looked. “It’s got a lot of history to it.”

He advises bringing a pair of glasses and having some knowledge of the land.

 “If they have the legal land location that’s the best,” he added. “It’s nice to help people find a little piece of the family history.”

Veronica Michaud will be at the trade fair, she uses horses to provide people therapy with her company Healing Soles. Her horses are trained to be around people and youths who have challenges. “My clientele would be mostly high-risk teenagers.”

Horses and people interact with each other in a different way and Michaud has people care for the animals and paint them as well. Hobbema Family Services brought youths last summer to her program and they were able to open up and speak with a psychologist while handling a horse.

“They were able to have those sessions without the feeling of four walls,” she added.

She calls it “empowerment through horse interaction.”

Sommer Home Hardware usually has a large space to showcase their new products to attendees. Manager Gary Colyn says lumber will be a focus this year. ‘We anticipate a busy building season.”

He also enjoys interacting with people who come to the fair.

“I enjoy meeting new and old customers as well as the community relationships and am excited to show the new products that we have,” said Colyn.

Farmer’s Market

This is the first farmer’s market before the season begins, says manager Donna Merrill. “It’s good exposure and being close to the first market gives people a heads-up.”

She tries to get a variety of vendors to the market. There are a few new exhibitors to this year’s market including a wood carver that makes toy trailers and chuckwagons.

“I do have a good selection of new clothing coming in,” says Merrill.

While shoppers can browse a variety of items, they can also visit with each other and have a hot cup of coffee. “It’s quite a social event.”

Local groups such as singers from Ponoka Elementary School and the Ponoka Gymnastics Club will entertain attendees with their skills and children will be able to try out the chamber’s duck pond to win prizes.

“If you get the lucky duck you can win a gift basket,” says Jaster.