Popular lounge returns to Top O’ Maine after 2-year hiatus

After being suspended for two years, a long-running trade show will return to Madawaska and registration is still open for vendors.

MADAWASKA, Maine — After being suspended for two years, a long-running trade show will return to Madawaska and registration is still open for vendors.

The Top O’ Maine Trade Show, dubbed “The Show Connecting Business to the Public”, returns to the Madawaska Recreation Center on April 23-24. The last Top O’ Maine show in 2019 featured 115 different vendors, but has not taken place since due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year will mark 33 years since the show was first staged.

St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce and Tourism acting general manager Lorraine Marston said this year’s show already has more than 100 vendors registered, but it might be a little different from last show. .

“People are impatient and we have a lot of new, different vendors this year,” Marston said. “Two and a half years ago, some companies existed and today they no longer exist. You can see the change.

While companies are still calling to claim booth space, Marston said the show will feature a wide variety of things to buy or experience, including safety demonstrations by Madawaska’s emergency medical technicians and firefighters, as well lots of food, artisans, car displays, a whole new array of vendors, and even a $500 prize to be won through raffle tickets.

The decision to bring Top O’ Maine back to the St. John Valley this year was up in the air until the last minute, according to Marston.

“We really decided at the last minute to take a chance because we never knew what the outcome of the pandemic would be,” she said. “We decided in mid-February to take it back and say ‘Let’s do it’ because we’ve had a lot of people calling us about it, which gave us that momentum. Everyone’s tired of this pandemic and you can get a real idea that people are ready to come out. We’ll be encouraging masks for sure, we’ll have signs posted around.

The pandemic that has made it impossible to highlight local businesses has had a big impact on Valley residents, and Top O’ Maine’s return is one of the first signs of a return to normality, Marston said.

“As for Top O’Maine, we’re trying to get people to businesses and we haven’t been able to do that, so it’s really affected a lot of businesses in the valley,” he said. she declared. “Especially in Madawaska, we are very dependent on Canadian traffic and we had all these restrictions. This city is definitely going through a change, it’s been a tough change, but we’re actually starting to see some recovery and we’re going to see a lot of good things happen down the road. We had to go through what we had to go through and now we are making a lot of good changes.

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