It’s 27 years and counting for Agri-Trade, Red Deer’s enormously successful annual farm show. Exhibit manager Patrick Kennedy says “If we get good weather, and it’s looking good, it could be a record year.”
Advance ticket sales are up and Kennedy says he’s expecting more than 70,000 people to attend.
The Nov. 10 to 13 show will feature close to 500 exhibitors and Kennedy says they are occupying all the space available at the Westerner and even “Putting pressure on the Westerner to develop more space for future shows. If there was any more space we could fill it. There are 80 names on the waiting list, but we just can’t add space. All the outside exhibit space is full too.”
Kennedy says while they try to limit the space required by individual participants, regular exhibitors like New Holland take up huge areas displaying their new machinery. There’s 300,000 square feet of indoor display space and about 100,000 square feet outside. About 90% of exhibitors come back every year, so it’s difficult for new exhibitors to even get into the show.
Agri-Trade dates back to 1984 and Kennedy says, “We started small with a vision to grow, making our first lists on foolscap paper. Now we have huge databases on our computer. I never thought back then that it would become this big and successful.”
Something new for the show this year is the Fortis-sponsored Agri-Trend Learning Stage where educational presentations on agricultural topics will be ongoing. On Nov. 11 there will also be a special Remembrance Day ceremony on the stage.
Sponsorships are increasing too and a new one involves the Edmonton International Airport, which is providing a $3,500 travel package that attendees will be eligible to win.
As always there will be presentations of Ag Innovations Awards and bursaries to Red Deer College and Olds College students (four from each college) in agriculture-related courses and programs.
Home Happenings is always a popular exhibit, featuring new home products and services. Families find it a good place to shop for Christmas and there’s an opportunity to sample a variety of food and beverages. Another regular favourite is the Collector Toy Show, now in the Harvest Centre. It features farm toy collectors and exhibitors from across Western Canada.
Agri-Trade 2010 runs from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $10 (but parking is extra) and children 12 or under accompanied by an adult are free.