Trade shows depress me. Yeah, I’m being negative right out of the gate, but to me, trade shows are giant rooms of ‘impulse buys’, which is fine, but I’m not someone who is in any position to ‘impulse buy’ things like motorhomes, hot tubs or (sigh) ‘man sheds’. Maybe I’m just not in the proper tax bracket to take advantage of these deals but I always go from booth to booth, enter draws, I don’t impulse buy a motorboat…..and I go home feeling like a financial failure.

When I met up with the Saskatoon Family Expo folks, they immediately told me how this Expo is NOT a trade show. I looked past them at the giant room of vendor rows,,,then and back at them as they continued. While, yes, it is technically set up like a standard trade show, the whole point of the Saskatoon Family Fun Expo is to spread awareness of all local business and services for Saskatoon parents of young children. With that in mind, I mentally put on a pair of 2006 shoes (the year I became a Dad for the first time) and took a look around. My one reoccurring recurring thought was-  WHERE WAS THE SASKATOON FAMILY EXPO BACK IN 2006?

This was parental information and entertainment overload. The Wide Open puppeteers were performing while City of Saskatoon employees were showing parents every activity available with a Leisure Pass. Allegro Montessori School representatives were explaining their curriculums, Kindermusik was a flurry of wide-eyed kids hammering on percussion instruments, and Dave from Bartari had multiple video game stations. There were interactive science and agriculture displays and the mandatory bouncy castle! The odd meltdown wasn’t a magnet for annoyed onlookers as everyone here was a parent! These were my people.

Peppered between all these dizzying displays were a few somber outings like Bikers Against Child Abuse and Postpartum Darla (hoping that’s not her real name) See, I joke, but sprinkling these in the Expo is an absolute victory and I commend the organizers for it. I can only imagine how much courage it must take to reach out to organizations like these when needed and this environment provides a stress-free opportunity to casually pick up a brochure or make that initial face to face contact.

So, there it is.

Feel free to sit back and mock me, because it sounds like all I’ve done here is describe a trade show, but if you are a new parent or new to the city- this is literally 6 months-worth of parental networking conveniently all under one roof, so take every advantage it offers.

The next Saskatoon Family Expo is set for November 4th back at Prairieland Park.  If you have rambunctious toddlers you need to tire out- go to the next Expo on November 4th. If you’re a new parent or expecting- go to the next Expo on November 4th… If you are holding off having children because you are worried Saskatoon does not have all the amenities needed to be a successful parent- relax, get pregnant…..and go to the next Expo on November 4th.