Leap in to Spring Expo launches next weekend at arena

by Stephen Dafoe

The Morinville and District Chamber of Commerce is getting ready to open the gates for their annual trade show, which will take over the Ray McDonald Sports Center Apr. 17 to 19. The show is operating once again under its Leap into Spring Expo name, but will continue the long-standing tradition of combining local and regional businesses and organizations with plenty of entertainment and a special door prize.

“This is our 12th year, and it’s an ongoing activity that the town expects,” said Chamber Administrator Diane Mineault. “It brings people into the community and it also helps people of the community have a chance to display their goods under one roof.”

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 businesses.

“This year we’re going to have a few more home-based businesses involved because we’ve been using the social media and been advertising for that,” Mineault said. “So we have our very reliable people like Home Hardware and ReMax and a lot of these people that have come in for years, which is great. The new businesses will mingle around there.”

Mineault said there were a lot of home-based businesses in Morinville, particularly given the large number of military families in the community. “A lot of those people are moms … with kids that like to be involved in home-based businesses and they can take those [home-based businesses] to the places they move to. It’s great for them to get out to meet each other, and its creates a huge networking thing that goes on beyond the trade show.”

Entertainment a large part of the mix

Not only will the arena be full with more than 60 small, medium and large businesses — 20 of them first-time vendors — the event will also fill the stage with a variety of entertainment once again this year.

“It adds some family time,” Mineault said. “I’ve been advertising it as a family affair because the entertainment will add that. We’re going to have a clown on Sunday walking around doing balloon animals.”

Saturday brings a variety of entertainment to the stage, including the Morinville Veterinary Clinic’s Annual Pet Fashion Show. Sunday’s entertainment includes The Morinville News’ Annual Baby Crawl contest. The former event puts critter versus critter on the stage to see whose animal is the best dressed. The latter event is pure knee-to-the-carpet speed crawling. Those interested in registering their pet for the fashion show can call the Morinville Veterinary Clinic at 780-939-3133. Registrations can also be made online at morinvillevet.com. Those wishing to participate in the Morinville News Baby Crawl can simply show up at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Apr. 19. Singers and dancers will round out the weekend’s entertainment.

This year’s contest door prize is a backyard package valued at approximately $1,800, sponsored by Home Hardware/ Bumper-to-Bumper and Pleasant Homes.

The Leap into Spring Expo runs Apr. 17 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Apr. 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Apr. 19 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 per person, $10 per family. Children under 5 are admitted free.

Vendor spots are still available by calling 780-939-9462.

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