by Tom Henihan
The Robin Hood themed wiener roast that took place in McLennan on Friday November 27, was the first in a number of initiatives to generate local momentum towards launching the McLennan Trade Fair.
“I am on a sub-committee of the Chamber of Commerce with Danielle Drouin, Louis Gagne and Dan Labrecque, and we are spearheading this,” says Eric Verstappen, a local businessman and financial advisor with The Co-operators insurance.
The wiener roast was a straightforward, fun community event and is indicative of the atmosphere and informal concept that is being adapted for the trade fair.
“We want to get away from the strong business-like approach that a lot of people have,” says Verstappen. “There will be no entrance fee because we want a low resistance access for people, lots of activities as well as the business people, the people who want to sell their stuff. The trade fair has to be a business enterprise with a fair atmosphere. It has to be a fun activity that generates business.”
The wiener roast’s Robin Hood theme was also a conscious effort to bring things into a nostalgic setting, to create the feeling of a traditional, community event, where people are hanging out and having fun, but also with a serious focus of an event that promotes and is beneficial to local businesses.
“So that is what we were trying to set up, with the wiener roast where we had about sixty people. We also plan a family day, and we are going to try to get a skidoo or a quad rally going this year, with all of these things leading up to our trade fair,” says Verstappen. “We are trying to get buy-in from our people first.”
The McLennan Trade Show will alternate with the Falher Agricultural Show and those involved were hoping to launch the event next September.
“Looking at the timeline, because we are trying to alternate with the Ag Show we are not sure if we are going to pull it off by September, so the first may be in three years’ time,” says Verstappen. “So our job is to keep people engaged for 3 years.”