Show Breaks Boundaries

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By Francis Mukuzunga WINDHOEK By the time the Windhoek Show Grounds gates opened to the public on Friday morning, a good number of people were already queuing and milling around by the entrance. And by mid-afternoon, most of the exhibition halls had hordes of visitors coming through. In the evening, the entertainment areas were full to capacity as people from all walks of life enjoyed themselves. This was day one of the show. As was expected, Saturday drew the biggest crowd as most places of leisure in Windhoek were virtually empty – everyone was at the show? Some businesses even reported losses – real business was happening at the show. Sunday is normally an easy-going and quiet affair in Namibia, but yesterday this was not the case as the show grounds drew more people. It seemed as if Windhoek had awoken from its slumber. Families and friends alike could be seen enjoying themselves at the various restaurants and braai areas around the exhibition park. Children were being treated to games, free rides, ice cream, sweets and candyfloss while the ladies could not resist the shopping addiction. President of the Windhoek Show Society, Theo Schoeman, told New Era that this year’s show is different from previous years’ for many reasons. “I have been president of the Show Society for five years but I have never seen anything like this before,” he said. “This is the first time ever that I feel very comfortable as everything is well organized and I am generally happy with what is going on so far.” With all exhibition space taken up and a 40 percent increase in the number of exhibitors, Schoeman could only put his feet up and pat his colleagues on the back for a job well done. New features at this year’s show include the Theme Halls, SME Plaza, the Coca-Cola Entertainment Plaza and the World Championships for the Damara sheep event. In addition, the City of Windhoek has also redecorated the entrance area to make it look more interesting. Schoeman says the theme halls were created this year in the interest of visitors. “In previous years, we did not classify exhibitors according to their lines of trade but this year is different. At first some exhibitors did not like the idea but now they see the benefits,” he continues. Theme halls are the President’s Hall for services and communication, Main Hall for homemakers, Restaurant Hall for international exhibitors, Hall B (clothing, textile and jewellery), Proforce Hall (health and beauty), International Hall (products from Namibia and other countries) and Karakul Hall for small stock. The Main Hall has the largest number of exhibitors but these are grouped into clusters, according to their line of business. Outside stands are accommodating various businesses and also small-to-medium entrepreneurs. “Entertainment is varied and wide and there are a lot of competitions, including the annual Miss Windhoek Show, the FNB/Cosmos Radio Treasure hunt in the arena and lots more,” said Schoeman. Chief organizer and Operations Director for the show, Harald Schmidt, said he was impressed by the number and quality of exhibitors. “We have received an overwhelming response from the exhibitors this year, all our spaces are full to capacity and this is very encouraging,” said Schmidt. Apart from the Damara sheep championships, there is a lot more to see on the agricultural side. The show has so far attracted 560 entries for large stock, which include different cattle brands, and 1 200 small stock entrants which include poultry, sheep and goats of all breeds. Yesterday also witnessed the delivery of Namibia’s best stock from the Gobabis Show that just ended. On the industrial side, service providers to agriculture, mining, engineering and other industries have wares on exhibit. Tight security and car parking services are being offered all round.