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--  Industry Shows  --

Good Attendance at NAFS

Organizers received positive feedback on the quality and quantity of attendees at the Northern Alberta Forestry Show in Grande Prairie.

By Tony Kryzanowskishow.jpg (54724 bytes)

Despite less than favourable temperatures, both inside and out-side exhibitors at this year’s Northern Alberta Forestry Show (NAFS) reported a good turnout of quality visitors and prospects.

The show is held every two years—during the first week of May—with the Prince George Forest Expo held about the same time in alternating years. The timing of the show is intentional, coinciding with Arbor Day and National Forestry Week.

Show chairperson Debra Dunfield says that while people attending the show might have lingered longer in the outside display area had the weather been warmer, overall show traffic was still good. Estimated attendance was in the range of 15,000 to 18,000.

Another gauge of the success of the show was the feedback organizers received from exhibitors. "We received comments in terms of the quality of people and the number of visitors, that it was up considerably for the inside booth holders," says Dunfield. "The outside exhibitors felt they had good quality people, but the numbers weren’t quite as high as in previous years." Overall feedback has been excellent, she added. The number of exhibitors was up this year, with the show hosting a total of 362 exhibits.

One new event that was extremely successful was the silent and live auction. "It gave our sponsors a different avenue to support the show, rather than giving cash donations," says Dunfield, "and it was a good fundraiser."

Funds generated by the show support two annual bursaries the group gives to the forestry program at the Grande Prairie Regional College and finance improvements at the Evergreen Park facility, where the show is held. Evergreen Park finances the show and all profits other than the bursary program go back into the facility. Over the years, they have installed more paved areas, as well as campsites, so that they can host more events.

The Ladies’ and Children’s programs were once again very well received at the show. While there were a number of high-quality presenters and topics covered during the seminar sessions, attendance was down. Dunfield says show organizers intend to book speakers earlier next time around, and promote them more with show attendees.

One of the main challenges over the next two years will be to evaluate the workload of the various voluntary directorships on the NAFS board, and to pro-vide more organizational assistance where required for the next show. Dunfield says they are already receiving requests from exhibitors wondering when they can register for the 2001 show—a clear indication of the high level of interest and the successful track record of the Northern Alberta Forestry Show.

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