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Annual trade show starting to fill up Photo contest part of the fun

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With the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce’s Home & Leisure Show coming up April 27-28 at the Memorial Sports Centre, organizers are busy lining up the exhibitors and activities that make it an annual success.

Chamber office manager Dawn Booth said this morning that about 40 exhibitors have signed up so far, but that there’s plenty of room left for more.

“We’d like to get to 70 exhibitors,” she remarked. “Of course, time is going by really fast and the sooner people get signed up, the better for us.

“We do want to start our advertising, and we’d like to have as much information as possible from our exhibitors for that reason,” added Booth.

“[But] I’m not worried about it at this point in time.”

Booth sent out exhibitor packages to about 500 businesses in Northwestern Ontario, Manitoba, and Minnesota back in January, and hopes to draw a wide variety of registrants.

All of the registration information also is available on the Chamber’s website at www.fortfranceschamber.com

Entitled “Tips, Tools & Techniques,” this year’s trade show promises to have some different things to see and do, said Booth.

One new addition is outdoors columnist Gord Ellis, who is scheduled to hold two workshops on the Saturday—one on fishing and the other on outdoor photography.

Another new activity is an amateur photo contest, where area shutterbugs can enter pictures in three categories: home and leisure, the great outdoors, and “for kids only” (a category for district children aged 13 and under).

“We’ve receive a couple entries, but of course we’re still looking for more,” noted Booth.

“The deadline is Friday, April 20, so people do have a while. But the sooner they get them in, the better.”

All entries will be on display at the home and leisure show.

There also will be a separate dog photo contest, where people can bring in pics of their adorable pooches. More details on this contest will be released next week.

Prizes will be up for grabs in both photo contests.

Organizers also are hoping exhibitors take the initiative to do more demonstrations.

While the Chamber won’t be staging a demonstration area as it has to mixed success in the past, Booth is encouraging all exhibitors to come in and do their own.

The Chamber handed out comment cards to everyone who went through the show last year and found people wanted more expert tips and advice, particularly regarding decorating and home improvement.

Booth also said this year’s trade show will not feature a major contest, like the putting/safe cracking game that offered chances to win prizes like pick-up trucks and motorcycles.

But she’s trying to work out the details of an entrance draw for $1,000.

Organizers also will have an expanded penny auction area and enhance the kids’ corner, which will feature Borderland magician “Grandpa Magic” performing three shows over the two days.

Booth noted volunteers are still needed to set up and run the kids’ area. Any club or service group is welcome to do this—even a group of high school students who may have to work off some of those mandatory volunteer hours needed to graduate.

“We had some high school students do it last year and they were excellent,” she remarked.

Booth noted the show also could use more sponsors—whether they want to sponsor Ellis’ seminars or the photo contests, or provide door prizes or penny auction items.

Anyone looking to book a booth, be a sponsor, or volunteer at the trade show is urged to contact the Chamber office at 274-5773.

The trade show is scheduled for Friday, April 27 from noon-9 p.m. and again on Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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