A large booth with 20 local businesses promoting Niagara-on-the-Lake at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is seeing about 1,500 visitors a day, well-worth the cost of participating in the 10-day event, says the Chamber of Commerce president.
Eduardo Lafforgue, who received $15,000 from the Town to help cover the costs of participating, is thrilled with the quality of the booths participating, and with the positive reception from passers-by who stop to chat.
Set up in the fair’s food and lifestyle area, the booth is 40 feet by 10 feet, says Lafforgue. Although it was provided free of charge, there were other costs that needed to be covered, and the chamber had to make a quick decision to go ahead, without having had time to budget for the event.
Speaking from the fair Monday, Lafforgue says, “I’m standing between two cows and one horse, and the Lieutenant Governor is walking by, I think helping to open something.”
The space given the chamber “is enormous,” he says. People have been stopping by to sample wine and food, and loving it, and they’ve been very impressed with the Parks Canada soldiers — “they’re a huge attraction.”
On the weekend they had about 1,500 people a day, Monday was a little quieter with about 1,200 visitors, but by the time the fair closes, he estimates about 15,000 people, many of them walking through the building to the horse show, will have stopped to learn something about NOTL.
“This is a high traffic area, and the people walking through are just the kind of demographic we want to see in NOTL. It’s fantastic — well worth the effort and the investment,” he says.
There is a great list of sponsors participating, he adds, including the Niagara Historical Society and Museum, Parks Canada, and several wineries and restaurants.
“It will be a great benefit to the whole town, not just for the chamber. People are collaborating, and we have a very wide spectrum involved. Niagara College is taking over the booth for a whole day.”
The NOTL booth is located beside the one for Innovation Ontario, Lafforgue says, so it will be great to showcase Niagara College and its innovation for visitors.
Many visitors who stop to chat already know and admire Niagara-on-the-Lake, he says, “but we’re making sure they learn even more about it to love.”