Another successful Home and Garden Springfest

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Numbers were definitely up for the 2nd annual Tillsonburg Home and Garden Springfest at the Tillsonburg Community Centre's Colin Campbell Arena.

Even without a final count late Sunday afternoon, organizers Dave and Dev Chmarney could state that fact without any hesitation.

"Yesterday (Saturday) was really good," said Dave.

On the floor, some vendors suggested attendance was better Saturday, some felt it was better Sunday, which seems to signify healthy attendance both days of the three-day show.

"Friday's crowd seemed to be more people," he said, but noted when they tallied the admission it was almost identical to last year's opening night crowd.

"But people coming in last year on Friday were touring through, then out. This year they appeared to be lingering around more, which in turn meant they were spending more time shopping, spending money, finding information, and looking to make contacts."

And that's what home and garden shows are all about – sharing information, products, services and contacts with as many people as possible.

About two-thirds of last year's vendors returned for the 2016 Springfest, with giving them just over 60 in total.

"This year we had more landscaping, hardscaping, another garden centre, a hot tub spa business..." said Dev, pleased with the mix.

"We did see people who were here quite a bit of time," said Dave. "For some people, by the time they'd go down the aisle and come back, it seemed like a good hour and a half – I was surprised. And there have been no complaints..."

"It's been very positive, they're finding what they are looking for, they're glad to see the show back," said Dev. "And a lot of comments that we need to make it bigger.

"We've had more than 1,500 people so far," she said, "and it'll probably be closer to 1,700 by the end of today. We had 1,000 people yesterday (Saturday)."

Last year's three-day attendance was just under 1,500.

It won't be long before planning begins on the 2017 Home and Garden Springfest.

"In two weeks," Dev smiled.

The decision on whether it's bigger, which would require expanding into the Kinsmen Memorial Arena, will be made within a few weeks.

"We have to have a reason to go bigger," he said, "by having more attendance, more vendors. Some of the vendors here were asking for more booths, more space, so it shows they see value in the show."

Vendor space had sold out about two months before the show – even before they started the advertising campaign. And when they did start pushing out advertising, even more potential vendors contacted them, bringing the waiting list to about a dozen.

The Tillsonburg Fair Board contributed to the weekend Springfest's success, collecting door admission, handing out promotional bags, and operating the concessions.

"They've been a great asset to the show," said Dave. "We wouldn't have done it without them." 

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