News

Almost 2,000 people take in this year's Springarama

By Susan Gamble, Brantford Expositor

Eleven-year-old Emily Agnew of Waterford looks at a water fountain at the Ryerse Garden Gallery display on Saturday at the Springarama home, recreation and garden show at the Aud in Simcoe. Brian Thompson/Postmedia Network

Eleven-year-old Emily Agnew of Waterford looks at a water fountain at the Ryerse Garden Gallery display on Saturday at the Springarama home, recreation and garden show at the Aud in Simcoe. Brian Thompson/Postmedia Network

SIMCOE - 

Drawn by sunshine, promises of rejuvenated homes and the chance to win traditional prizes, almost 2,000 people filed through the annual Springarama event in Simcoe over the weekend.

They cruised around The Aud, picking up promotional pens, accepting chocolates and – at least the brave – trying a little spicy smoked kangaroo meat.

"It's farm-raised kangaroo from B.C.," said Doug Carmichael of Carmichael's Smoked Meats, holding out a slice on a long knife.

"It'll put some bounce in your step."

Carmichael's little booth at the home and garden show also offered samples of wild boar and water buffalo, along with the tamer original smoked product.

But it's the kangaroo that tends to make people stop.

"When they see that word, they're intrigued," said Carmichael. People tend to get a bit more exotic during Christmas but while they might sample his unusual wares when it comes to buying, the boar and kangaroo don't hop off the table.

"I played it safe and bought some original and some spicy venison," said Donavan Burke of Delhi.

His wife Tammy said she was afraid but pushed herself to try the kangaroo.

The couple said the annual show was a great chance to get out in the sun and enjoy a kid-free activity together.

"It's small," said Tammy Burke, "but it's Simcoe."

Emy Brubacher, the marketing and event coordinator for the Simcoe and District Chamber of Commerce, said this was the first year the event sold out of vending spots, hosting 100 different businesses from air-conditioning, roofing, windows and floors to a variety of players that represent an updated theme.

"It used to be a home and garden show but now it's more about your lifestyle as well," said Brubacher.

"People are thinking about renovating and fresh starts so this is about rejuvenating your house, your outdoor space and yourself."

That drew in a lingerie seller, hairstylist and essential oil business and Brubacher said there were other beauty products and products that were aimed specifically at seniors.

Along with traditional demonstrations by vendors, the chamber brought in the Bird of Prey Flight Show by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy which, said Brubacher, proved very popular with kids on Friday.

Elections Ontario had a booth set up to encourage people to vote this year.

"We're helping people make sure they're on the voters list," said returning officer Carl Maynard.

He said folks wanted to stop and chat, offering a wide variety of opinions on the political environment but his job involves having no opinion on parties.

"This is just about how important it is to vote. We try to make it as easy as possible. People can vote on election day, at advance polls, by mail or we can even send people to your home."

Nearby, people were wandering in and out of a full-sized sunroom set up by Bill Klyn Carpentry's Sunspace business, based in Burgessville.

"People like to touch things and see what they're buying," said Mike Klyn, the business’s manager.

"Since we started setting up a display like this it really increased our business. It shows the window system and some options they can get. It shows the different types of roof panels and the different styles of railings."

Klyn and his dad use the unit at four shows similar to Springarama, spending about four hours to set up the display, and then sell it at a discount at the end of the home and garden show season.

Brubacher said she and the chamber were pleased with the turnout for the show which, she said, was helped along by perfect home and garden show weather.

"You want sunshine so people think about spring, but not have it so nice that people want to be outside."

Brantford Expositor

SGamble@postmedia.com

@EXPSGamble