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Chambers of commerce are not just important advocates for the businesses in their communities. They are also important community builders.

Wiarton’s inaugural Back to School Carnival, which took place in the downtown parkette, was an outstanding success that not only highlighted local businesses but that taught people an important lesson.

Nearly 100 people visited the carnival, even those beyond back to school age. An especially large crowd drew for an educational show by Paul Kennedy and Zander Ressel of Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo. Not only did the children and families in attendance learn about the importance of reptiles in our world, Paul also shared an inspirational story. Zander has autism and had first met Paul when he was eight years old at a reptile show that Paul was working. “At the end of the show, this little boy walks up to me, looks me in the eye and says, when I grow up I want to do your job,” recalls Paul.  Years later, Zander is living out his dream. Paul told all the children, “Zander didn’t have it easy. He has challenges but he does not let that stop him. You can do anything you want to.”

The carnival was organized by the Wiarton and District Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the Wiarton BIA as part of a back to school shopping campaign that ran from August 25 to September 4. Along with shopping and shows by Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, other activities included the Grey Bruce Public Health’s Blender Bike, the Bruce Country Library’s Squishy Circuits, Harry Potter character look-a-likes and face painting.

Click here to learn more about the Wiarton and District Chamber of Commerce and other initiatives of theirs.

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