You can’t blame organizers of the annual Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce trade show for scratching their heads this week, nor feeling quite frustrated.
After all, the 10th-annual show was sold out from an exhibitors point of view, the curling club provided a cozy, professional-looking setting, and 10 great door prizes (supplied by local businesses) were up for grabs.
So where were the people?
Although organizers said about 2,000 people visited the two-day show last weekend, it was a far cry from the number they had hoped to attract—especially given there was no spring trade show this year, nor a Lifestyles Expo.
No doubt they’re left wondering what else can be done to get more people out.
There may well be several valid reasons. The show, for instance, was cut down to two days this year, which may have lost those people who normally attended it on the Thursday night. And its location at the curling club, way up on Eighth Street, may indeed limit the “walk-up” traffic a more central site like Memorial Arena could draw in.
Of course, the good weather Friday and Saturday didn’t help, either, as people sought another chance to enjoy a weekend at the cabin, or on the golf course. And who knows, maybe a fear of getting “arrested” kept some away, too?
Yes, the onus is on organizers to come up with fresh ideas and “gimmicks” to attract people to their event. But that’s only half the battle. After all, even the best-planned community event is nothing without that one key ingredient—the community.
And then it won’t be long before events without the community leads to a community without events.