Bonnyville was taken over last week with an influx of people in town to participate in the 2013 Bonnyville Oil and Gas Show. The event saw dozens of exhibitors pack the Centennial Center on Wednesday and Thursday.
Organizers considered the event a success and were really happy with all of the feedback they received.
“We got great feedback from all of our exhibitors,” said Robyn Ducharme, president of the Bonnyville Chamber of Commerce. “They were just really happy with the organization and happy with the quality of the contacts and the visitors coming through the show.”
Thousands of people visited the event over the course of the two days with a total of $12,000 raised for STARS air ambulance.
Those in attendance said by far the biggest hit of the show was the Oilmen's room, where all exhibitors got a chance to talk to each other in a series of “speed dating” style meetings.
“A great cross-representation of the industry is present here. We really liked the one-on-one sessions we can have with (companies) such as CNRL, Devon, Cenovus. We had really valuable time to be able to speak with them,” said Bennett Beaudry, Business Development Manager with Clearstream Energy services.
Many exhibitors commended the Chamber of Commerce and its 30-member volunteer committee for organizing the event and felt it had improved from the 2011 show.
“I thought it was really good, really organized. Even more organized than last time. They definite improved it. We just came in picked up our package on the go, everything had been taken care of,” said Melissa Dort of Horizon Mechanical.
“The oilmen's meetings were great and really helped us out a lot. It was pretty much all you could ask for right there. It was worth it just for that meeting to come to this show.”
Sponsored barbeques, breakfasts, lunches and a banquet were provided throughout the event and offered to exhibitors.
“They treat the exhibitors rather well. They feed us and entertain us so that part is always good, said CAMEX Marketing Director, Graham Gardener. “The kicker is whether you draw the people to the show.”
Gardener wasn't the only exhibitor who attended the event that felt the attendance was a little slow over the two days. Some exhibitors had hoped to see more of the field workers come in on the Wednesday night and were disappointed that did not appear to pan out.
“It has been one of the slower shows I have been to but I think being in the middle of the week kind of hurt,” said Luke Bruce of Team Industrial. “Doing a Thursday, Friday show where some of the crews get done on a Thursday and leave Friday open would be a better bet. The Wednesday, Thursday there are still a lot of the oil companies working shift work.”
Although the crowds weren't as big as some of the exhibitors would have liked, the event was still considered a success, despite a few critiques.
“Really the cell-phone (signal) in (the Centennial Centre) is terrible. Other than that the traffic is slow. If they improve those two things this would probably be the best show that we do, and we do shows from March to September every year,” said Ron Douglas of The Pickford Group.
Members of the Chamber feel they learned a lot from planning and running the past two Bonnyville Oil and Gas Shows and have already started planning for the 2015 show.
The show has been set for June 17 and 18 of 2015.
“There were quite a few visitors who came up to me and said ‘we didn't realize the size and the scope of the show, how do I get a booth for 2015?'” said Ducharme. “That's what starts to happen when you stay consistent with the show. You do it every two years, then word of mouth starts spreading and people just get used to the fact that Bonnyville has the Oil and Gas Show.”