Ontario Association Of Agricultural Societies Convention….


by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

Last year Judi and I decided that we would like to work with and promote Ontario's agricultural fairs.  As a result we contacted the Ontario Association Of Agricultural Societies (OAAS) to see how we could become more involved and discovered that they held an annual convention each year in February. So in the middle of winter, we arrived, in the cold, at the grand old Royal York Hotel.

Getting to the hotel was a bit of a chore, since the roads around the area were all ripped up and being worked on.  Once we arrived at the hotel itself, we were greeted by a parking attendant. From here everything went very smoothly. The attendant

gathered up our entire luggage and sent it up to our room. With that accomplished, we decided to see where the convention was being held and where the booth space that we purchased was located.  From there we found the registration desk and obtained our convention kit. Much to our surprise we found out that there was going to be a showcase performance that evening. We were told that it would be very entertaining and that it was a "must attend". It was still early in the afternoon, so we decided to further explore the convention area. Every once in a while we "pocked" our head into one of the training seminars. Judi found one that she was especially interested in, the "how to set a display table for your event". Once we had satisfied our curiosity, we decided it was time to fulfill our hunger by venturing to one of the restaurants located right in the hotel. After a great meal, it was off to the convention area and the "Showcase".

The Showcase was wonderful. The MC host was a fabulous performer in his own right and performed between acts - the array of performances presented was wide - hypnotist, county singers, jugglers and more. The continuous excitement of the young ambassadors, all shapes sizes both male and female, was contagious!  These young ambassadors danced all night in the isles. We were fortunate to be sitting the incoming President. What amazed Judi and me was that he knew the words to all the songs and sang along the entire time? All we could do was clapping our hands and tap our feet. All in all, the 3 hour "Showcase" flew by quickly and we had a great time! We retired early and awoke refreshed ready for "a day at the office". The office, of course, was our convention booth. It's hard to describe the array of people who came to talk to us. Some were extremely knowledgeable and knew a lot about the internet, websites and internet marketing while others had almost no knowledge but were eager to learn. I think these were the people that I enjoyed talking to most. Not so much because of their lack of knowledge, but more for their eagerness to learn. Part way through the morning our website "guru" technician, Shawn King joined us. Prior to the show he had developed a sample "mobile fair App" and was eager to show it off to potential customers. It was an exciting day and ended far too quickly. That night Judi and I had a "smorgasbord" dinner from the food court at Union Station! An experience to be had, if only once a year!

The next day we made our goodbyes to the people that we had met and departed for home. Just before we left, we were able to meet the delegate from Burford Fair who had won our "Picnic Basket" draw prize. This was a great event, well and enthusiastically attend and one that we are sure to visit next year.

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