HOULTON, Maine – This past weekend marked a return to normalcy for the many vendors and patrons of the Southern Aroostook Trade Show.
After a two-year hiatus, the trade show returned to the John A. Millar Civic Center, showcasing some of the latest trends in lawn mowers, gardening supplies and outdoor equipment.
“We were a little light on vendors, but those that we did have really did a fabulous job with their booths,” said Jane Torres, executive director for the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce. “I really don’t know what is left in some of these guy’s stores because they brought so much here.”
Preparations for the event typically begin several months before the actual trade show opens to the public.It requires lots of hours and a dedicated group of professionals invested in making their booths interesting to the viewers, according to Torres.
Torres said aside from the commercial side of things, the trade show also served as a social event.
“I have heard from so many people who were just happy to be back, talking with each other, and supporting one another,” she said.
Several of the booths at the trade show served to raise awareness and money for local causes, like the Littleton Playground Committee and Houlton and Hodgdon Project Graduation. Many booths had raffle tickets people could purchase for a variety of prizes. Others focused on selling goods or services.
Buster the bunny, a rabbit featured at the Serendipitous Dragonflies exhibit, proved to be one of the more popular attractions.
Saturday’s nice weather resulted in a lighter than anticipated attendance. The numbers rebounded Sunday as much of the day was in a constant drizzle. She estimated attendance figures to be around 1,500 people.
“Everyone is so happy that this event was back,” Torres said. “You just never know how things are going to go. It was great.”