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After low turnout, Perham Trade Show looks to changes in 2012

Blaise Schmidt tests out a Lund boat at the Hoots Sports display at the Perham Trade Show over the weekend. Schmidt said that he was going 6,800 miles per hour and expressed concern about sharks in the area. Photo by Chris Happel for the Focus.

The Perham Trade Show may be getting a face lift next year after attendance numbers were down several hundred from the 2010 show.

This year's attendance was estimated at 1,500, down from the 2,000 estimated last year.

Kevin Nelson, chair of the Trade Show Committee and manager of the Perham Area Community Center, said that the trade show has a strong base for moving forward.

"We're happy with the atmosphere and the vendors that we have," he said. "But we're looking at some enhancements for next year."

Entertainment during this year's show was provided by pianist Patrick Murphy and comedian Jon DeBoer. There were other presentations, including archery, fishing and Tae Kwon Do demonstrations.

Balloon artist Mr. Twister of the Perham Lions Club was also a big hit with the younger crowd, making balloon animals and hats for children.

"It was a good show this year, and everything went well," said Dan Schroeder, committee member and director of the Perham Chamber of Commerce.

Schroeder said that the committee is communicating with vendors about possible improvements.

The committee distributed a survey among vendors looking for feedback, and will discuss the results at a wrap-up meeting in the coming weeks.

Busy weekend

One possibility for the low turnout, Schroeder said, was that it was a busy weekend in the area.

Gymnastics and wrestling meets on Saturday, in addition to Polar Fest in Detroit Lakes, could have taken away potential visitors to the trade show, he said.

"There's so much going on that people have to pick and choose what they do," Schroeder said.

"Because of that," he said, "We will be looking at other options for 2012 and other things we can do to make it better. We want to look at it to see how we can make it better for the vendors and for the people who come to see it."

The Trade Show Committee will start planning for the 2012 Perham Trade Show in September. Interested parties should contact Kevin at the PACC at 218-346-7222, or Dan at the Perham Chamber at 218-346-7710.