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Trade Show brings hint of spring to winter-weary residents

HOULTON, Maine — Those dreaming of the warmer days of mowing lawns, grilling or lounging on an outdoor patio got a glimpse of spring and summer this past weekend during the annual Southern Aroostook Trade Show.

“It is great to see so many new faces that we have never seen before,” Jane Torres, executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, said Saturday morning. “I think seeing so many new people coming in is also great for the economy because they are also stopping downtown.”

Torres said much of the credit for things going so smoothly at the trade show had to go to Civic Center Director Haley Nickerson and her staff.

The Trade Show has evolved in recent years from businesses advertising products and giving away free items to more of a spring home and garden show with larger booths featuring ideas for home projects, recreational vehicles, lawn equipment and automobiles.

Cameron Clark of Cam’s Lawn Care and Landscaping, LLC of Houlton, introduced a new product line at the show as he is now doing custom patios, in addition to his chainsaw carvings and landscaping.

Clark said he has been participating in the trade show for at least the past six years.

“I had picnic tables here my first year, then I was making wooden pens,” he said. “This is a great place to promote new products or new services, which is what I am trying to do this year. A lot of people come through and are often looking for something new and different.”

Matt Donahue of Donahue’s Maintenance and Masonry of Houlton built a custom outdoor wood brick oven pizza stove and accompanying outdoor kitchen for this year’s trade show.

“Everybody wants to be outside when the weather is nice, and nobody around here is doing this (outdoor brick ovens) that I know of,” he said. “I actually have one in my home that is vented properly so I can cook year round on it.”

Donahue said his wife thought it would be a good idea to make one for the trade show, and that theory paid off as he had already sold the unit on display and received inquiries from several other people about purchasing one.

“The vendors are really going above and beyond,” Torres said. “I actually get excited each year when it comes time for the trade show to see what they will come up with.”


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