HOULTON, Maine — There is still a bit of snow on the ground and more is on the way, but officials with the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce are hoping that visions of time spent in campers next to the lake and tending backyard gardens will entice area residents to flock to the Southern Aroostook Trade Show this weekend.
Lori Weston, executive director of the Chamber, said on Tuesday that the show will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 2 and 3, at the Millar Civic Center in Houlton. A number of new exhibitors will be at the show this year, and a full schedule of events is on tap.
Weston said that this year’s show will have information on modular homes, programs for special needs children, alternative heat sources, real estate, spring planting ideas, garden and farming equipment, camping, home improvement ideas and more.
Weston said she believes the trade show is important because of the exposure it allows businesses in the region to receive. The event generally attracts 1,500 people or more.
“It would be rare to have over 1,500 customers come through a place of business in a two-day span of time,” she said. “The trade show offers the perfect opportunity to showcase and sell product to customers on a one-on-one basis. It’s a face-to-face interaction that often doesn’t happen in a store setting, offering a chance to see the product and ask questions of the professionals who sell it.”
Music will play a part in this year’s show, according to Weston. The stage area at the civic center will provide a venue for music from Fireman Fred and a chance for visitors to sing karaoke. Food also will be featured at the show. Weston said there will be a cake-tasting event and a contest to determine the best pizza in the area.
Another new aspect of this year’s show will be the inclusion of The Mobile Vet Center, which serves combat veterans and their families with readjustment issues and with benefit issues and questions. Screenings for all veterans for high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol will take place inside the civic center.
“We are extremely pleased to have a major focus of the show for the veterans of our area this year,” Weston said.
Doors are scheduled to be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.