By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Morinville & District Chamber of Commerce Share the Secret Trade Show came to a successful end Sunday afternoon. Chamber President Sheldon Fingler said he was pleased with how the event went.
“We’re extremely impressed with the business community locally and from surrounding areas that came together to be a part of the show,” Fingler said. “Of course we’re also really happy with the attendance and the people who came.”
In total, 1,392 visitors passed through the show over three days to view nearly 70 displays of local businesses, services and organizations.
The Chamber president said many exhibitors commented that visitors to this year’s trade show were interested in what they had to offer and that many sales and connections had been made. “I’ve already heard from quite a few people who’ve made significant business dealings at the show,” Fingler said. “For them it was a great experience and obviously that was also a great experience for the person that came to the show because they were maybe not looking for that service but found it here, creating that new relationship, got what they needed and found it locally.”
Summers is not alone in making rewarding connections during the show. Charmin Rockwell of Career Employment and Counselling Services also had many residents dropping by her booth to see what was available.
“I think any opportunity that we have to let Albertans know about the services that they can have for career and employment planning is a great opportunity,” she said. “We had a lot of people stop by the booth looking for resources for their youth doing career planning but also looking for resources for themselves.”
But even well-known institutions like the Morinville Public Library benefitted from exhibiting in the trade show. Library Manager Isabelle Cramp said response to the library’s booth were favourable. “We were able to show to a lot of people in this area what the library is all about,” she said. “It was very positive for us.”
Many exhibitors chose to take on a historical theme with their displays this year in honour of Morinville’s centennial. The Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division booth took visitors back through 100 years of education in Morinville, complete with old desks and school bells to old year books of former Morinville students. The Morinville Historical and Cultural Society had a PowerPoint presentation focused on 100 years of business in Morinville and Monday Morning news launched its centennial edition recreating Morinville’s first newspaper Le Progres.
But while the hockey arena and curling rink were full of exhibitors and visitors over the three days, there was more to this year’s show than products and services. The Chamber made sure there was plenty of culture and entertainment to fill the weekend.
“It was a new and exciting thing because we had heritage stuff,” Fingler said, adding the entertainment included First Nation singers and dancers from Alexander. “This was the first year and we also had Nathaniel Arcand, star of a couple different television shows. It was a big honour having him here.”
Arcand was a crowd pleaser throughout the weekend, talking with fans, signing autographs and even doing an impromptu musical performance on Saturday afternoon, including a jam with Paul Smith of Smith Music.
But Arcand wasn’t the only one to please young and old. The weekend’s entertainment included French singers, dancers and even aan active demonstration of Zoomba, a fitness dance. The entertainment capped off with the annual baby crawl, a three-lane event that put toddler vs. toddler to see who could crawl the length of the stage the fastest.
Fingler said the roster of singers, dancers and other performers was a great thing to mix into the commercial side of the trade show, but the cultural and historical elements added to the weekend.
“The full entertainment aspect is great, but bringing in the heritage of our community is even better because we are 100 years old,” Fingler said.
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