Fairgrounds hosts first Trade Days

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Cousins Leslie Vannatta, left, and McKinzie Davis, 5, browse some jewelery Saturday during Curry County Trade Days at the Curry County Fairgrounds. Davis said she “wanted some bling.”

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ Staff Writer

The finish wasn’t perfect for Lee Chaffee, but the price was.

A California native, and a resident of Clovis for the last seven years, Chaffee left Curry County’s first Trade Days show about $40 poorer. However, she also left with a bag of books and clothes and an antique clock that had lost some shine but was still in good shape.

She also left with optimism for upcoming trade days, where she may rent a booth to sell some of her antiques.

“The first one or two months are going to be kind of a challenge,” said Chaffee, a trade show fan, “but it will be OK.”

Curry County Fairgrounds Manager Susan Ferrell estimated the crowd at about 500 at about 3 p.m. Saturday, the first of two sessions for the trade days. The event is planned for the first Saturday and ensuing Sunday of every month.

The introductory Saturday gave show-goers a chance to peruse and purchase from 40 different merchants, ranging from Pampered Chef kitchen supplies to homemade candles to food items.

Mark Balko, who runs a food stand in Melrose, said his stop makes good business as a spot on the highway for fruits, spices and cherry cider.

But every bit of exposure helps increase the chance somebody from Clovis brings their business dollar a few miles west on U.S. 60/84.

“I think after they see what I’ve got, they’ll drive out there,” Balko said before a laugh and a pause, “or I hope they will.”

Visitors could enter throughout the day and see information on the Curry County Events Center, find out about candidates in the upcoming general election or hear the sounds of Sharon Dictson singing a variety of tunes including “Blue Velvet.”

The trade show was something Ferrell envisioned years before she became fairgrounds manager, and she said it was a big part of her job interview.

“I said we should have a trade show,” she said. “We have the fairgrounds. They have nice booths for the vendors. We have the parking. We have the outdoor area.”

Ferrell felt the first day was a success because of what it meant for the next trade days. She’s got 60-70 vendors signed up for next month’s trade days, meaning two buildings will be used and there will be more opportunities for gross receipts taxes to stay in Curry County.

“It’s great,” Ferrell said. “I’ve already spent too much money myself.”