Above: He seems to be much more impressed with his driving than she is.
It’s April 12th, 2013 and it’s spring in Wetaskiwin. The huge piles of snow have pretty much vanished. It’s April 13th, and although still spring in Wetaskiwin no one told the weatherman. Mother Nature opened up the skies and dropped a fresh 20 cm. blanket of heavy, wet snow on the City and region. Regardless, the telltale signs of spring remained evident; the robins and geese have returned, sprigs of green grass are evolving and the fifth annual Wetaskiwin Chamber of Commerce Trade Show has returned.
The Trade Show opened its doors to the public on April 12th and 13th. Although the 2012 event was a huge success Executive Director Alan Greene restructured the 2013 Trade Show to make it more, as he describes, “visitor friendly and allow for more booths.” The plan with the City taking the ice out earlier this year was to “move our main Trade Show Booths into Arena 1. We will then be having the Agriculture Hall in the Drill Hall, which with its large bay doors will allow large equipment to be brought in doors.” However, plans change and the Drill Hall housed the Trade Show booths and Hi Line Equipment filled Arena I with farm and acreage equipment. The two venues were connected by an indoor hallway and with no hockey happening in the arenas, there was easy access to parking.
Arena one could have been renamed the Hi Line Farm Equipment Arena during the Trade Show as they filled the entire building with a variety of equipment that is suited to acreage and small property owners. Lawrence Gionette, Commercial and Consumer Equipment Sales Rep explained, “Most people know us for our sales of large CASE and New Holland equipment and the guys are quite busy back at the shop helping farmers get ready for spring seeding. But we wanted to show the community the smaller equipment we have available. We had a display of this type of equipment in the curling rink last year that we shared with a couple of other dealers but when the offer came open to have the entire arena, we jumped on it.”
Wandering around and checking out the latest in CASE skid steer loaders, rototillers, new models of Cub Cadet riding mowers, motorcycles and ATVs, and Boomers was an education in itself. Gionette described some of new technologies and features of the equipment they were displaying. “We wanted to go with the spring feel and feature some of the smaller equipment we have. We have a wide range of Boomers, (a 30-50 H.P. tractor with loaders, snow blowers and other attachments) that have become popular with acreage and small property owners. The line of CASE skid steer loaders includes a new model with a track that replaces the traditional wheels and is less invasive of soil and paved conditions. In the Cub Cadet line we are introducing riding lawn mower with a steering wheel instead of levers traditionally used for turning. Because of the new design, this mower performs much better on hills. You will see on the lawn mowers there is a quick connect for a garden hose on the blade chamber. Hook the hose up, have the mower running and the housing is washed effortlessly. Our new Cub Cadet snow blower is three phase and because of this design, will move snow much further. The Trade Show is great for us and a great promotion for us.”
More local businesses were at the Trade Show and it was a great opportunity to meet with them, some for the first time, and learn more about their products and services. As residents slowly made their way through the exhibits they could be seen sharing information with the exhibitors and visiting with people they don’t regularly see. It is evident the Trade Show has also evolved into a social event.
Attending her first major public event as the new Chamber Executive Director, Judi Best commented, “I have to commend Allan (Greene) for planning and hosting this event. I am already looking forward to next year’s Trade Show and hope I can make it even bigger and better. Planning will be in full swing as soon as we close the doors on this one.”
Comments from both vendors and attendees clearly rated the Trade Show as very professionally planned and hosted.