Red Deer has 15 per cent more hotels rooms than this time last year and there’s still no room at the inn. Construction and expansion at local hotels has increased to 1,600 the total number of rooms available in Red Deer and the immediate area this week, said Phil Pearsall, manager of the Red Deer Visitor and Convention Bureau. While there are always a few last-minute cancellations, hotel rooms in Red Deer are booked solid due to a major farm equipment show hosted by the Westerner and the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, Pearsall said Tuesday. Agri-Trade 2000, running today through Saturday, has pulled exhibitors and visitors from across Western Canada and part of the northwestern United States, said Chamber manager Jan Fisher. The addition of the new Harvest Centre at Westerner Park has enabled Agri-Trade to bring in a record 420 exhibitors for the 17th annual show, added Fisher. The Harvest Centre increases the indoor space at Agri-Trade to 300,000 square feet, enabling exhibitors who have been on the waiting list for up to five years to book a booth for the first time. Merchants throughout Red Deer benefit from Agri-Trade, judging from previous years. “We figure the economic spinoff to be something in the realm of $3 million, three to four,” said Fisher. Economically, Agri-Trade outperforms Westerner Days because it brings a large number of people to town — roughly 80,000 — for a short period of time. While Westerner Days is a local attraction, Agri-Trade brings in a large number of people from outside the area. Fisher said show manager Pat Kennedy, founder of Agri-Trade, considered normal weather conditions among the factors that helped decide the best dates to hold the show. Most years, the weather has been good. But there have been times when winter has arrived with a vengeance, forcing a large share of show profits through a series of portable heaters that Kennedy said sucked up more fuel than a commercial airliner. “Pat does the sun dance” in hope the weather will co-operate, she said. “Oh yeah, outside in my bare feet,” Kennedy later replied. Kennedy said the show dovetails nicely with Edmonton’s Farmfair and Canadian Finals Rodeo this week. “I get a sense of real up tempo here,” Kennedy said. “It’s been a very tough year for a lot of businesses. I think they’re anxious to see what Agri-Trade brings to them.” Agri-Trade encompasses the entire Westerner site, opening daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. There is no charge for parking.