After a year like this one, we need to talk. And there will be lots of opportunities to do just that at this year’s edition of Agri-Trade.
“This year is all about networking — getting people into the show, allowing people the chance to sit, visit and get caught up with their neighbours and friends from out of (their) region,” said Dianne Smirl, show manager of the Red Deer event, which runs from Nov. 11-14.
To encourage networking during the four-day event, there will be designated areas set up throughout the show. Attendees are encouraged to use these areas to visit, see what is going on in other regions of the province, and exchange information on new technologies in agriculture, said Smirl.
“This year has been a very interesting year in agriculture,” she said. “Depending where you were at, there was a different result. The northern areas were declaring states of agriculture disaster, southern areas were good, and central areas were very spotty.
“We want people to come together and discuss ‘Wow what a year!’ and see what they are planning for 2016.”
The event features more than 400 exhibitors, and there are many new ones. All have been encouraged to showcase what is new for them, whether that’s products or how they can be used, Smirl said.
Agri-Trade also has some star power this year. Jamie Davis, the star of Discovery Channel’s “Highway Thru Hell” — the reality TV show about a heavy vehicle rescue and recovery towing company operating in B.C. and northern Alberta — will be signing autographs on Thursday.
There will also be a breakfast on Thursday morning for Olds College alumni and donors featuring a presentation on the college’s agriculture programs. Agri-Trade also supports the college by donating $1 from every admission for bursaries.
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, the final day). The opening day coincides with Remembrance Day, and Smirl advises people to get there early as the show typically sees a surge in attendance when it opens on a holiday.
And after you have caught up with your fellow producers, Smirl asks that visitors let her and her team know what they thought of this year’s show.
“What we are looking for is attendees to give feedback about the show — what they want to see, what they liked, what they didn’t like,” she said. “We are also encouraging people to be active on social media by using the hashtag #Agritrade15. We want the attendees to drive the presentation of the show.”
Agri-Trade is held at Westerner Park in Red Deer. Admission is $14 per person and includes GST and parking. Children under 12 are free when accompanied by an adult. Multi-day passes can be purchased at the gate or the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce office.
For a list of exhibitors and floor plans, visit agri-trade.com.