Darrelle Moffat a staff member at Scales Nature Park holds up a Blanding's turtle (top) and a painted turtle (bottom) to show the difference in shell shape. Scales gave a presentation on turtle handling and identification at the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust's turtle training on April 14 2016 at the fish hatchery. JENN WATT Staff

Try It Fair to open door to discovery

By Darren Lum

Published by Nov. 29 2016

Learn about the full breadth of what is happening in Haliburton County with the Try-It Fair event on Friday Dec. 9 at the local high school.
Organized by the Haliburton County Public Library the trade show style event is going to be at the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School gym from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and promises an opportunity to not just learn by seeing but get hands-on and learn by doing.
It will include artists inventors experts business people and organizations who will inspire and share skills and knowledge through demonstrations and interactive opportunities.

Event co-ordinator and Minden library branch assistant Nancy Therrien said this event will open eyes about what is out there in the county.
“A lot of people don’t realize the different skills and talents that we have in the community” she said.
Among them is an amino lab which is based in Wilberforce. They will be doing “bacterial painting”– using bacteria for art. Other examples include an opportunity to try fly-tying drumming pottery felting stained glass leather work audio recording and even learn about the Japanese healing technique Reiki. So far there are 20 confirmed exhibitors with 10 more likely to be confirmed.
The event will be exclusive to students and teachers from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. when it opens to the public. Admission is free.

The idea for the event came from the recent growth in popularity of “makerspace events.”
“These are huge huge trade shows where people come to see different demonstrations of all sorts of random things” she said.
Therrien said this event is a natural fit for the library because it is capable of bringing organizations and businesses together. For the past three months she has worked on bringing this new and unique event.
She said potential exhibitors were contacted by cold calling or reached through promotion help by the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce and the Arts Council.
The biggest barrier she adds was educating people on what the event was about.
“Once they know what it is then they really are excited” she said. “For the businesses and the organizations it’s a different way to market themselves because they are not directly selling anything at this event as people get to try things out.”

Therrien hopes this event will continue annually with different businesses and organizations  each year to keep it fresh and insightful. This will depend on the attendance and the feedback given through short answer survey on the passport given to every event goer. With close to 200 students and teachers in the first hours of the event she hopes the total attendance equals close to 400 people for it to be considered a success. Every exhibitor station will be listed on the passport. Passports can be entered in a draw.
The event received a $3500 HCDC sponsorship from its Local Initiatives Program which funds locally started new and unique events and partner organizations HHSS Canoe FM Contact North Fleming Crew Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce Haliburton County Public Library Haliburton Highlands Museum Haliburton School of Art and Design and Sticks and Stones Productions.
Moving from Ottawa a few years ago Therrien says she learned a lot about the county through organizing this event and hopes others can do the same just by taking a few hours to attend it.