Monday, September 26, 2011

From Ecuador to Scotland - Fall Trade Show

I have to admit I look forward to the Fall Trade Show every year. It is a chance to go and explore the world's wares and time old favorites.  And judging from the overflow parking so does Wood Buffalo.
As I was working in the Wood Buffalo Health Advisory Council Booth, which we shared with AHS, I decided to head out early to get the all elusive parking spot I heard rumour of. I usually drive a nice small car, but as my husband had decided to head out in the car to Edmonton to watch the Father Mercredi Baseball Academy Team, I was driving "Big Blue" - a 2500 Dodge Ram.  After a nerve racking experience at the airport parking lot the night before I was looking for the biggest, easiest parking spot known to mankind. To my great relief there was a big field being manned by wonderful volunteers directing parking.  I drove right to the end and parked as far away as I possibly could, gathered my stuff and headed off for my shift. 
As I walked in the doors at MacDonald Island I was greeted by a swift entry line and a blue tourism bracelet that would serve as my passport to consumer Nirvana.  I had a plan.  I would work my shift at the AHS booth and then spend the evening exploring the rest of the Trade Show. The three hours that I spent at the booth flew by.  I was busy reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances, talking about Wood Buffalo Health Advisory Council and explaining the new website where you can find valuable health information from a single, reliable source.

Things had slowed down by the time I was ready to head out into the fray of  Fort McMurray's very own Fall Trade Show.  I gathered my things and headed towards the main entrance to experience the whole Fair from start to finish.  There is a technique to exploring a massive event like this.  I like to take a strategy employed by maritime search and rescue called track line patterning. Works every time.  I wandered by booths promoting kitchen utensils, the latest in floor cleaning initiatives and products, holistic health, baby wear, clothing, jewlery and well..basically everything you didn't know you were deparate need of.  Then I feel the magnetic pull to that which has attracted adventure travellers for years....Ecuador. There hanging from a plastic hanger is a soft wrap made from the wool of  that classic Andean pack animal which has been a source of warm wool and transportation in Ecuador for centuries...  the llama. Granted I don't know of any blue, white and black plaid llamas, but it was perfect. Purchase made.  Moving on with my track line patterning I move into Hall B and find Scotland.  My ancestoral heart sighs....home. I spend time looking into the history of family names, tartans, and of course the ever commercial products of Guiness.  Part of the booth is Scotland and the other Ireland.  Being Scottish, English and Irish I am drawn to spend most of my time here. After talking to the booth owners about certain historcial questions I make a small purchase and move on to finish the entire Trade Show.  My stomach begins to growl in earnest so after a quick look at my watch I decide to head home.  So ends my day at the Fall Trade Fair. As I make my walk across the now almost deserted field I spot "Big Blue" parked under a tree in full fall bloom and  I am again reminded how lucky I am to live in such a vibrant community. 

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