Sold out trade fair incites positivity

The arena was a packed house April 19 and 20 during Ponoka’s It’s a Jungle in Here themed trade fair.

  • Apr. 24, 2013 6:00 p.m.
Cookie time: Zoe Pitt shows off her decorated cookie at the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce trade fair. It’s a Jungle in Here was the theme of the weekend with activities and entertainment for the entire family. More photos are in this week’s paper.

Cookie time: Zoe Pitt shows off her decorated cookie at the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce trade fair. It’s a Jungle in Here was the theme of the weekend with activities and entertainment for the entire family. More photos are in this week’s paper.

By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye and Amelia Naismith

The arena was a packed house April 19 and 20 during Ponoka’s It’s a Jungle in Here themed trade fair. Hosted by the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce, manager Les Jaster feels interest came with bringing the Ponoka Farmer’s Market into the main building. “It think it went really well. I thought there was a lot of buzz.”

The farmers market had 65 to 70 booths sold and 93 were sold for the trade fair. Even with that amount of interest there was still a waiting list of 22 vendors.

Having the main trade fair on the large ice surface also gave vendors space to present their products to attendees. Jaster spent much of his time helping out in places where volunteers were needed and talking with people.

“I enjoyed chatting with the vendors. I chatted with each and every one of them,” said Jaster.

He feels the vast majority of responses were positive. Vendors also received surveys on the trade fair and some have been returned. For those surveys returned Jaster sees an overall satisfaction to the event and will take a look at what can be improved. He even has some ideas for next year.

“I think it’s great the community and area supported it,” said Jaster.

This was Jaster’s first year working with the trade fair and the response to his efforts have also been positive. “Les did an awesome job for it being his first year,” said vice-president Inger Laing.

Both the floors were full of vendors and viewers and to keep things lively there was also entertainment on the small ice surface. Here is a small sample of the many vendors that came to the trade fair:

Fur trader

The fur trade is growing, says Rubin Wiebe of Rubin’s Furs. Wiebe was one of many vendors on the farmer’s market side of the trade fair.

He intended to work as a seller part-time but business has picked up. “It’s turned into a full fledged business.”

He is a registered buyer and trapper and the trade fair’s theme is somewhat appropriate to what Wiebe sells. He had furs from foxes, coyotes, beaver and lynx and he travels around Alberta to sell his products.

He feels experience in the industry helps. “You gotta learn how to do it.”

This year Wiebe expects higher than average sales as more people than usual are buying furs.

“The fur industry is coming back huge, it’s mushrooming this year,” he explained.

What makes a good fur? Tanning, says Wiebe. The process is somewhat difficult and he sends his product to Montreal, Que. and Winnipeg, Man. to be done as the furs last much longer.

Trailers for remote control cars

One vendor at the farmer’s market sells custom one-of-a-kind toy accessories. Don Shallock of Bored Projects builds aluminum trailers for remote control cars and wooden chuckwagons for the rodeo fans out there. He also enjoys spending his time crafting custom built aluminum mailboxes complete with wood flooring.

Shallock has been requested by many farmer’s markets to offer his work for sale and turns many eyes to his toys, especially younger kids. “I get a bigger kick on the kids’ faces when they get a look…That’s why I do it.”

Naturally fed meat

Mark Stewart of MSW Farms was at the market to sell his grain fed meats. With more than 50 different products it can be difficult to keep track of it all. But products such as sausage, elk jerky, bison steak and longhorn beef were available.

He has been doing this for the last 10 years and enjoys the work. “We’re just getting enough animals to supply demand.”

Beef is on sale at an organic food market in Edmonton and restaurants such as Cilantro and Chive buy their product.

“They’re supporting local people and that’s what we’re all about,” says Stewart.

He advises those interested in bison learn some of the different ways to cook the meat as the steaks need to be prepared slightly differently than a beef steak since bison is more lean.

Home security

Those looking at a home security setup could speak with Duane Sieben, co-owner of Phase 3 Security.

He displayed a five megapixel security camera that gave a bird’s eye view of the trade floor. Security is an important factor for his clients. “It’s hands down peace of mind.”

Having a camera system takes the guess work out of finding out what happened the night before an event and Sieben had many options available to potential buyers.

Although security is important for everyone, his biggest clients are those in retail.

Library changing its logo

Ponoka Jubilee Library manager David Tremblay shared a space with the Town of Ponoka to promote the library and some upcoming events.

He has organized a competition to redesign the library logo. “I figured maybe it’s time to update it.”

Tremblay’s goal is to drive interest in the library and services available to patrons.

The official launch of the competition was April 19 at the trade fair. Competition forms and rules be found at the library

Ronald McDonald is also going to be reading to kids age four to seven at the library May 10 at 11 a.m.

Councillors

Town councillors Izak van der Westhuizen and Loanna Gulka were at the trade fair to speak with residents.

Van der Westhuizen enjoyed seeing the many opportunities available to attendees as well as having a chance to see the different items on sale. “It gives different businesses a chance to promote their services.”

He feels the trade fair is a chance for businesses and town representatives to strengthen their relationships.

Gulka enjoyed being able to speak with residents. “It’s nice for people to approach us in a casual manner.”