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Canadian celebration in the desert

Published On: Dec 08 2012 07:53:33 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 08 2012 08:04:01 PM CST

"Look at this, I died my hair red for this, I'm blonde," Marnie Balog of Team Balog Keller Williams Realty said.

Marnie Balog showed her pride at the 2012 Canada Fest at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

"Canadians are just fun loving like that. If you notice a lot of them walking around they all came down with their Canadian shirts and where they're from. There's a lot of pride in Canada," Balog said.

There was a lot of pride at the Convention Center, too, as people enjoyed a taste of their favorite country to the north.

"We have over 300 vendor booths, there's so much going on, wonderful displays. We have travel, we have shows going on back there," Canada Fest producer Bette King said.

The fest celebrated the strong Canadian presence in the valley.

"Oh my gosh, it's fantastic. So many people just living and working down here. Brings another 250,000 to the valley every season and we love it. Thank goodness for the Canadians because they kept us busy the last few years."  Balog said.

"We have 112,000 Canadians who live here full time and a lot of them own our businesses. Thirty three percent of businesses in the Coachella Valley are owned by Canadians," King said.

A famous Canadian visiting the desert sat at the Balog table -- Hall of Famer Grant Fuhr of the Edmonton Oilers.

"Golf courses are fantastic, weather is fantastic, not as much traffic as some other places I've gone," Fuhr said.

We had to ask him an important desert question, of course.

"What's the best I've ever shot at golf? I think I've shot a 62 a couple times," Fuhr said.

With that out of the way, we watched him sign autographs for fans and help raise money for a great cause.

"He's donating a mold of his hockey mask. We're raising funds for that, it's going to the American Cancer Society," Balog said.

"It's a way to give back a little bit and have fun doing it," Fuhr said.

This is the first Canada Fest here in the desert, but King says it won't be the last.

"We will keep doing Canada Fest. We already have 169 people that signed up a week ago for next year. I said, 'I haven't done the show yet! Give me a chance!'"  King said.

The event runs Sunday from 10 to 6 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.