Manitoba products on display at weekend expo
Enchanted Groves Alpacas, a company that specializes in hand-knitted alpaca hair articles of clothing, brought along a few of its alpacas for the event. (Brian Oliver/The Graphic)
A collection of unique, locally-made goods filled the MNP Exhibition Building as part of the Portage and District Chamber of Commerce's re-branded Made in Manitoba Expo.
Some of the finest entrepreneurs from across the province had their goods on display in Portage la Prairie Saturday, the event featured 24 booths showcasing everything from handcrafted furniture to hand-knitted alpaca-hair items like socks and mitts.
"We have booths from all over the place - Winnipeg, southern Manitoba, Portage, the east, west, north and south - it's a good representation of Manitoba-made products," says Cindy McDonald, executive director of Portage and District Chamber of Commerce. "There are so many amazing made in Manitoba products, this is just the tip of the iceberg. We hope to grow this every year and really showcase to people that you don't have to go very far to get amazing products."
24 booths had products on display at the second-annual event and thanks to a rebranding initiative that included a name change, attendance numbers skyrocketed. Formerly the Agricultural Awareness Expo, the event's debut struggled to attract many people. But the re-launched expo focusing on locally sourced goods had no trouble attracting the masses.
"All you have to say is made in Manitoba and sample some made in Manitoba products, and the attendance has been unbelievable," adds McDonald. "A lot of it is food based, a lot of people want to know where their food is coming from, what they are eating."
The proof is in the pudding as 2018 attendance totals eclipsed the debut event's within the first hour, and had dozens of people coming and going throughout the afternoon.
"These are local entrepreneurs from Manitoba who are making made in Manitoba products, what more can you ask for?" adds McDonald.