The Stettler Board of Trade (SBOT) hosted their 37th annual trade show this past weekend from April 7-9. Over 150 exhibitors and entertainers were on display for the 3,000 plus people who came through the doors of the Stettler Recreation Centre throughout the three-day event.
As 2017 marks Canada’s 150th anniversary, the SBOT called this year’s show “Expo ‘17” in honour of the occasion.
Three thousand is a large number of attendees for an event like this, but the numbers from this year were not unlike attendance numbers from previous years, according to SBOT Project Manager Donna Morris.
“It’s up from our normal average,” said Morris, who organized the event. “The number is a little higher than last year.”
Although the trade show has been running for 37 years, the organizers are always looking to add something fresh.
Among this year’s new additions were the Dirt Road Music Stage, which hosted a variety of performers in the red arena, and Kelly the Carver, who could be seen outside the rec centre carving a bench out of a log with chainsaws.
The performance stage had started up on a smaller scale last year, and this year the Dirt Road Music sponsored stage was alive with performances throughout the weekend that ranged from folk dancing to knife throwing.
“They did an outstanding job with the entertainment over the weekend,” Morris said. “We had lots of cultural acts and a variety of talented members on that stage.”
The chainsaw-carved bench that power carver Kelly Davis was working on throughout the weekend will be revealed at the SBOT office upon completion. The bench will be a celebration of Stettler’s history and culture.
“It will be a beautiful masterpiece that we can showcase,” Morris added. “It will showcase where Stettler started from and where our culture and heritage arise from.”
Other new developments this year included a number of first-time exhibitors.
“I would say a good 40 percent of our vendors were new this year,” Morris commented.
The trade show is always popular with businesses and non-profit organizations, who come from all around the Stettler region to showcase their offerings.
Applications for next year’s trade show will open on June 1, and the tables are assigned on a first come first served basis.
Organizing an event of this scale takes a lot of hard work, Morris commented, but in the end, the results were pleasing.
“We’re quite happy with the overall success of the show and want to thank everyone who took part in some way to help with that success,” Morris said. “I’m looking forward to even more new and exciting opportunities for 2018.”