There was a smaller turnout this year for the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce’s annual Home and Leisure Show, down by about 1,000 people over the two days, which understandably left organizers disappointed and scratching their heads.
The Chamber certainly deserves kudos for staging the home show for a 24th-straight year—offering local businesses and organizations an excellent venue for selling their products or raising awareness about their respective causes.
So what to do? Organizers can’t control Mother Nature, of course, but perhaps holding the show earlier in the spring would coincide with weather that’s more conducive to hanging around inside the Memorial Sports Centre rather than heading to the cabin or doing outside chores, as was the case this past weekend.
Holding it in the fall is another option—but that was done before, with no real consensus on which time of year proved best.
It also was a busy Saturday with teas, the “Gigantic Garage Sale” at the Fort Frances Curling Club, the weekly Clover Valley Farmers’ Market on McIrvine Road, a golf tournament at Kitchen Creek and a “Demo Day” out at Heron Landing, Emergency Services Day at Canadian Tire, and free tipping at the local landfill for yard and garden waste, which may have hurt attendance, too.
On the other hand, a myriad of events indicates a vibrant community and tends to get people out and about, so choosing a weekend when nothing else is going on may not necessarily bolster turnout for the home show.
There is no easy answer but hopefully organizers keep trying instead of simply throwing in the towel. The home show raises much-needed funds for the Chamber, brings visitors to town, and gives residents another choice of something to do with their time.
It would be a shame to see yet another community event fall by the wayside.