More than 22,000 people took in the Ridge Meadows Home Show over the weekend.
A steady flow of people streamed through the show at the Albion Fairgrounds over the three days, with direct-sale vendors reporting an increase in sales and leads.
“Many of our local businesses rely on the Home Show to provide as high as 75 per cent of their leads for year-round work,” said Cass Winder, executive director of the Ridge Meadows Home Show.
“We always feel great knowing we are playing a part in strengthening our local economy and creating jobs at home.”
The most popular item for sale this year was a handmade product from Tulameen, a professionally finished, hollowed-out log that acts as a liquor or wine dispenser with a tap.
The sun beamed down on visitors of The News Family Fest who took in the rides, free shows and children’s activities before entering Planet Ice and the Golden Ears Winter Club to peruse the 400 exhibitors who lined the rinks.
Winder was pleased with the master of ceremonies, Norden the Magician, who has been entertaining at The News Family Fest stage for at least 13 years.
“There’s nothing you can’t throw at him. I remember one year there were so many changes in the dog show lineup and it was really late when we gave him his commentary and talking points, five minutes before the show, and he just took it and ran with it,” said Winder.
Shows throughout the weekend included the Dunvegan Dance Academy, Precision Acrobatics and Science World.
There was also the Doolittle’s Petting Zoo, free trampolines, the Haney Builders Supplies sandbox and plenty of other activities for children.
On Saturday, Luisa Marshall drew a standing-room-only crowd to watch her Tina Turner tribute, during which McDonald’s served coffee and tea.
“It’s kind of a thing we do for the seniors,” Winder said of the concert, adding that it gets seniors out in the community.
Children’s entertainers Bobs and LoLo also drew a huge crowd to their performance on Sunday.
This year, there no incidents at the show, amplifying its success.
”There were no fender benders, no lost parents and no medical emergencies,” said Winder, who works closely with the fire department to solve problems and avoid major issues, such as tripping hazards and uneven pavement.
One year, there were 17 children reported lost at the Home Show over a weekend, and Winder said, when that happens, everything stops on the site until that child is found.
The food truck festival also did booming business this past weekend. It was set up in a prominent location, in The News Family Fest area and was promoted as a reason for people to attend rather than as a service provided.
“Maple Ridge vendor Dan Beitel of Hunger Management needed to re-stock several times over the weekend and, at one point, we overheard our macaroni and cheese vendor on his cellphone ordering 70 pounds of macaroni,” said Winder.
The best part of the Home Show, she added, is that patrons didn’t have to pay for much. Parking was free, as was the entertainment in addition to activities for children.
The admission fee to the show itself was minimal, Winder said.