Trade Fair captivates town

Mardi Gras was alive and well during the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair.

  • Apr. 30, 2008 9:00 a.m.
Stilt walker Heather McCulloch entertained the crowd at the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair on April 26 at the Ponoka Recreation and Culture Complex.

Stilt walker Heather McCulloch entertained the crowd at the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair on April 26 at the Ponoka Recreation and Culture Complex.

Mardi Gras was alive and well during the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce Trade Fair. It was held April 25 and 26 at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Centre. As soon as you walked through the doors the atmosphere set the stage for a fun time and the walls were decorated transforming the halls of the arena into a party-like theme. Walking closer into the arena you could smell the hot Cajun food that was being prepared for everyone to enjoy including spicy rice and grilled shrimp. If you looked up for a few moments you were sure to see stilt walker Heather McCulloch from Calgary entertaining those walking by. It was not uncommon for a young toddler or youth with their neck cranked way up in the sky to look at what she was doing. From twirling her ribbon to hiding behind her purple flags she was a great addition to the show. The air was filled with the ragtime New Orleans style music from the Flat Iron Trio who were kept banjo picking and blowing on their trumpet to round out the wonderful atmosphere of the Trade Fair.

“The atmosphere was really upbeat and energetic, I think the exhibitors did a great job, some were wearing masks and some were dressed up,” said Marieke Mulligan, the executive director of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce.

“I think the theme went great because it was just fun and people came in to have a good time, our vendors did an awesome job of incorporating the theme into their booth. Compared to last year people were there for a longer time, there was enough to keep people occupied for longer,” said Mulligan.

She was very pleased with the attendance. She reported that there were almost 6,000 people through the doors of the show, which is up by 1,500 from last year. There were 78 vendors on one side and 38 on the other side. The Energy Expo was also a very popular draw with people investigating the different oil and gas industries in the areas. Some vendors even noted that it was great to have that industry out at the Trade Fair to educate people on what they do.

“I think for one we were able to get the word out that it was coming more effectively. We did a good job of providing activities for all age groups; the Energy Expo for the guys, Guitar Hero for the teens,” said Mulligan. “We were really pleased with Guitar Hero, I really felt strongly that we needed to draw from all age groups.”

The Guitar Hero contest was new to the Trade Fair this year with 225 people competing in it. The area was always busy with kids and adults alike watching the competitors jam away on the guitars. The winners were; Jeff Orom in the expert division with a score of 277,766, Wesley Wilson in the hard division with 158,181 points, Kyle Lunn was the winner on the medium level with 154,724 points and Triston Swampy was the winner in the easy division with 92,145 points.

At the Curling Rink the Farmers Market was set up with a four-piece band entertaining those who walked through to purchase fresh baked goods, interesting toys and other handmade products. The first Farmers Market of the season will be held on May 7 at the Curling Rink starting at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Mulligan notes that everyone she saw had a big smile on their faces and says that the wheels are already turning for next year.