By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – The Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to open the gates on their annual trade show, set to take over the Ray McDonald Sports Centre Apr. 19 to 21. Now in its eleventh year of operation, the show is changing its name the Leap into Spring Expo. Though the name has changed, the Chamber is continuing the tradition of showcasing local and regional businesses and organizations, offering plenty of entertainment over the weekend, and offering a major door prize for one of those who attend.
“It’s exciting because we’ve totally rebranded the show,” said Chamber of Commerce Manager Jaye Arcand. “We’re looking forward to bringing in some new stuff – more local entertainment with the kids and stuff like that – as well as more activities for the kids to do. The really big exciting thing is our big door prize this year, valued at over $3,000. It is a cruise for two for one week including airfare from Edmonton.”
Arcand said the one-week Norwegian Cruise vacation includes luggage, trip insurance, pet boarding, and other items. The trip portion may be exchanged for a $2,500 travel voucher from Escape TravelPlus should the winner prefer not to go to sea.
New name – new energy
For the past decade the Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce has run the show under the Share the Secret Trade Show banner. As the event has grown from success to success, 2012’s show drawing in record numbers, it was felt the show might not be that big a secret any longer.
“After 10 years of the show we figured it was time for a new brand and a new image,” Arcand said. “We just thought we’d kind of try to reinvigorate it and run with the spring theme.”
Although Morinville and area residents may be familiar with some of the community’s larger businesses, visitors will also have the opportunity to see some of the community’s home-based business, entrepreneurial enterprises that are offering interesting products and services in Morinville and surrounding area. This year, to draw more home-based businesses to the show, the Trade Show Committee have created a smaller booth for the smaller businesses. Arcand said some have signed up to participate; however, the majority of businesses, regardless of size, are opting to take full-sized booths.
Not only will the arena and curling rink be full of small, medium and large businesses this year; the event will fill the stage with a variety of entertainment, this year with a home-grown focus. Friday night’s entertainment includes school choirs kicking the event off with song, followed by routines from Dance Connection dancers. Saturday brings a variety of entertainment to the stage, including the Morinville Veterinary Clinic’s pet fashion show, singer / songwriter Justin Hogg, and the Higher Grounds Hot Dogma children’s talent show. Also on Saturday’s card is the Lions Club’s tractor pull competition for children. Sunday’s entertainment includes a performance by Ryley Quinn and friends as well as the Annual Baby Crawl, the latter sponsored by The Morinville News.
Arcand said the animal fashion show was put in place because people love to see animals at the annual event. “What’s more fun than an animal dressed up in the dress,” she said, adding there are a growing number of pet-related businesses in town now. “It’s a good opportunity to kind of get Fido out there. We even here there’s a cat.”
Those interested in registering their pet for the fashion show should do so by Apr. 17. They can do so in person at The Morinville Veterinary Clinic (9804 – 90th Avenue) or by phoning 780-939-3133. Registrations can also be made online at morinvillevet.com. Entry forms for The Morinville News Baby Crawl are available at the Morinville Chamber of Commerce Office and the Morinville Community Library as well as at the door Apr. 21.
The Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce Trade Show runs Apr. 19 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Apr. 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Apr. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 per person, $10 per family. Children under 2 admitted free. See next week’s print edition for a special four-page pull out event guide and map.