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INDUSTRY SHOWS

Getting ready for the Alberta show

Grande Prairie is gearing up for the Northern Alberta Forestry Show, to be held May 8 to 10.

By Tony Kryzanowski

             One of the best opportunities to catchup on the latest buzz in Western  Canada’s forest industry will be—without a doubt—the upcoming Northern Alberta Forestry Show (NAFS), slated for May 8 to 10 in Grande Prairie.

            The show will feature over 400 indoor and outdoor booths and displays, with a number of equipment suppliers unveiling their latest product lines and innovations.

The Northern Alberta Forestry Show will have over 400 indoor and outdoor booths and displays, with major equipment suppliers being well represented.

            “I don’t expect to see any fewer exhibitors at this show than the last,” says show organizing committee president Lyle Dalgleish. “Grande Prairie picks up a lot of local suppliers, as well as many coming from abroad. Typically, a lot of suppliers hold off bringing out some of their new models until they introduce them at the forestry show.”

            The show also provides a number of educational events, such as two luncheons featuring presentations from local forest industry leaders on current forest industry topics, as well as a banquet on the Friday evening.

            “The luncheons and banquet were a very good drawing card during the last show,” says Dalgleish.  The banquet includes a silent auction with proceeds aimed at partially offsetting the show’s costs, as well as the cost of bus transportation for hundreds of area students to participate in field trips to actual forestry sites during national Forestry Week, which this year is May 4 to 10.

            NAFS pays for this transportation during the “Walk Through The Woods” program, while local forest industry representatives from Weyerhaeuser, Ainsworth Lumber and Canfor organize and provide the industry expertise.

            Proceeds from the show also help to provide an annual $2,500 bursary to a top academic student enrolled in the forest management program at Grande Prairie Regional College. Dalgleish is confident that the show will once again deliver high quality exhibitors and good crowds, considering the amount of forestry activity in the area.

            In addition to featuring a line-up of the industry’s biggest name suppliers, the show continues to offer great value for visitors. Admission and parking are free, while nearby camping is available at very affordable rates.

            “This is one of the very few shows where you can walk through the gate to get information from suppliers and not have to put your hand into your wallet every time you walk around the corner,” says Dalgleish. “The suppliers pay for their booths and they expect to see customers. So we feel that those in attendance shouldn’t be penalized to see their suppliers.”

            Organizers are able to keep things affordable for both visitors and exhibitors because the show is run by a dedicated group of volunteers. Dalgleish, for example, is territory manager for John Deere dealer Brandt Tractor Ltd.  The show is organized by the Grande Prairie Regional Agricultural Society.

            As an added bonus, the Forest Industry Suppliers and Loggers Association (FISLA) has agreed to hold its annual general meeting and golf tournament in Grande Prairie at the same time as the forestry show. FISLA is expected to address a number of topics of particular interest to loggers. For example, the cost of insurance will likely be a hot topic of discussion.

    Area reps for the major suppliers can bring customers up to speed on the latest technology available from their product lines because typically much of the latest and greatest equipment will be right on site at the show.

            Visitors may find the show experience a bit different this time around, as outdoor display areas have been moved much closer to the indoor booths. In past years, the show had the Drysdale and Lewis Hawkes buildings as the major indoor display areas, and two outdoor rings for large equipment. The exhibition grounds have been redesigned so that outdoor displays are now directly to the west of the Lewis Hawkes building, making them much closer to indoor displays and thus improving flow-through traffic.

            Grande Prairie offers a good selection of hotel and motel accommodations and those planning to attend are strongly encouraged to book accommodation early. Affordable camping is available near the show grounds as well as in campgrounds outside the city. Area communities also provide a wide selection of accommodation alternatives.

            Further information on the Northern Alberta Forestry Show is available by phone at 780-532-3279 or by e-mail at egp@telusplanet.net

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