Fergus Lions Home show heading into its fourth decade

When the Fergus Lions open the doors on their annual home show this year, they will enter into their fourth decade of operation of the popular event.

And the 31st show is proving to be very popular with vendors this year. Show chair­man Larry Wainwright said in an interview on Sunday that the show is not only sold out, it has a waiting list. That means the club will be able to fill two arena floors with booths, plus the community centre, and there are others waiting for space.

Wainwright said that the hall will be the main entrance this year, and organizers will be grant­ing free admission. How­ever, the volunteers will grate­fully accept items for the food bank, as well as donations. Last year, the Fergus Lions club collected 2,600 pounds of food and just under $1,000 in donations for the food bank.

Wainwrigth said that the donations seem to range from year to year between just over 2,000 pounds of food and between $600 and $1,500.

There’s no doubt this [show] is a tremendous asset to the food bank,” he said.

As usual, there will be a number of new events in the show to match the regular and reliable displays offered. There is another new feature that has been added to both arena floors – a rest area.

He explained that the show was simply becoming so big that many visitors found it difficult to make their way around, so the Lions are accommodating them with a place to relax.

The show runs May 6, 7, and 8 from  6 to 10pm. One new event this year is on the Wed­nesday night only. The Re­max air balloon will be tethered at the site. People who pay the $5 fee can rise above the crowds, and that fee goes to bene­fit the Let Kids Play Foundation.

Wainwright said the show has attracted 40 new exhibitors this year, and “The variety is going to be probably the best we’ve ever had.”

Several tried and true dis­plays will return, too. The OPP, Lloyd Scott Enterprises, of Alma; James Keating Con­struc­tion, of Elora; Culligan, of Guelph; and Royal City Royal LePage realtors have been at every show since its inception.

On Wednesday night, the club will present the awards for the top three displays.

The success of the Fergus Lions Club’s Home Show has inspired other clubs in the area to hold their own events, and several clubs have consulted the Fergus Lions and Wain­wright in particular.

He said of the Guelph Lions Home Show, “I helped the Guelph get started three years ago. He was also consulted by the Bayfield Lions a dozen years ago, and Orangeville’s Lions Club was also aided for its show.

Wainwright said the origi­nal Fergus shows had an ad­mission of $2, and that helped pay the town’s share for an arena and community centre. He added that the cost to the town was the easily remem­bered $666,666.66. With Winario lottery grants, the $1.3-million building was soon underway, and the price of ad­mission at the Home Show went to zero – and stayed there.

Wainwright believes free admission helps attract people, and that makes renting booths easier.

The annual fish fry is set for Friday night between 5:30 and 7pm, and he said the meal will consist of Georgian Bay whitefish, baked potato, cole slaw, and dessert. He added that the only way to ensure a meal is to order tickets in advance because people expecting to purchase the night of the show are invariably disappointed.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12. Wainwright said they can call him at 519-843-4516. He noted several people had already called and order tickets.

For more information on the show, visit www.­fergus­lions­club.org.