This April, the Brainerd Area Civic Center and Gold Medal Arena won’t be the setting for the traditional Commerce and Industry Show.
Instead, the C&I show will be replaced by the Brainerd Lakes Marketplace — on April 13-14. The change encompasses a lot more than the name.
“This is an experience versus a trade show,” said Lisa Paxton, Brainerd Lakes Chamber CEO. “The C& I show was a very different kind of a show very basic, very focused on a vendor show — this is an event.”
The Marketplace plans to create an indoor park for an ‘open air’ market with live demonstrations, activities for young children and families, interactive technology workshops. Visitors will be able to stroll through a park-like setting among business booths, learn about products and services in the lakes area, shop or take a seat at a park bench while sampling food and beverages.
The Marketplace is designed to showcase businesses and activities that make this area a great place to live, work and visit, Paxton said. The demonstration area with its open floor plan will feature a town square and staging area for the demonstrations throughout the day such as food, landscaping and gardening demos with big screens set up to enhance the view. The new look features a seating area — park benches and tables — and an emphasis on products for sale.
Instead of blocks of business booths, the Marketplace — accented with colorful banners, flowers and green plants — is designed to provide a splash of color and activity for the spring setting. Space for vendors is limited to about 150. Cuyuna Regional Medical Center, Crosby, is the event’s premiere sponsor.
Paxton said plans are for multiple events, including a April 13 event night geared to seniors, a food and beverage tasting event on April 14 and a partnership with the Crow Wing County Childcare Association for its Day of the Young Child, with numerous activities for families and young children.
The Marketplace will also feature Brainerd Lakes Chamber’s networking CHOW Time lunch event at noon April 13.
The event is planned from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 13 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 14. This year, there will be a $1 admission fee for adults. Children, age 18 and younger, will be able to attend for free. With the admission fee, participants will be included in a drawing for a variety of door prizes donated by vendors. A portion of funds are dedicated to the Bridges Workplace Connection. Businesses interested in being involved have an early bird deadline of Feb. 17. More information about the event is available at BrainerdLakesMarketplace.com.
In the past, the annual spring event, now in its 35th year has drawn 10,000 people. For Paxton, this is a re-energized version that has a much larger appeal for participants.
Paxton said: “It just seems there is just tremendous energy about the show.”
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.