While the throng may not have been as big as is previous years, the annual Business, Home and Leisure Show put on by the Hay River Chamber of Commerce – combined with the newly revamped Hay River Fall Fair – still drew a crowd.
“We’re happy with the turnout,” said Kim Crook, a chamber member and co-organizer of the trade show. “I think it would have been busier if the weather wasn’t so nice, but I think everyone who wanted to come out made time to do so.”
The trade show is a yearly opportunity for retailers, service providers, employers and others to get together to strut their stuff and meet members of the community. Everyone and everything from grocers to government to artists were represented over the two-day event, with most exhibitors citing the chance to interact directly with the public as the main draw for them.
Held Sept. 6 & 7 at the arena of the Don Stewart Recreation Centre, it overlapped with the fall fair held in the centre’s curling rink on Sept. 7 & 8.
“We come to the show every year, but this is my first,” said Yellowknife’s Amanda Meszaros, a GNWT employee who was providing information about the NWT Employment Standards Act. “We’re just here to get the word out to employers who are maybe looking to see what their responsibilities are and employees who may be encountering some difficulties and want to lodge a complaint.”
Angela Jacobs, who was helping to man the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority booth, said that, in other years, the exhibits have been even more grandiose at the trade show.
“It’s quieter this time, but you can see the organizers are really stepping up,” she said.
At the fall fair, arts and crafts vendors, as well as exhibitors providing information, shared space with produce and baked goods on display for the weekend.
“I think it’s going great,” said Sheila Cook, a member of the organizing committee for the fall fair. “We would have liked more entries, but hopefully they’ll come out next year.”
Cook added people seemed to be reticent to enter either baked goods or produce because they didn’t know which category would be appropriate, but she said that “if the category doesn’t exist, we’ll make it.”
“This is really a place to showcase talent in the community,” she said. “I know there’s more out there, they’re just shy.”
As one of the first big events at the rec centre since he became recreation director, Ian Frankton said he was pleased with how the community came out to support both the trade show and fall fair.
“It’s getting a lot of people out and engaged in their community in one way or another,” he told The Hub. “It’s a great opportunity for both groups to get exposure and create connections between each other and the public, and it’s great that we have this facility in which to do it.”
While many exhibitors and organizers were focused on the lower-than-average turnout, Cook was philosophical about it.
“Every year, we’re always worried about whether people will come out,” she said. “And every year they do. Hopefully, it’ll be even bigger next year.”
— Sarah Ladik