| Aug 28, 2008

Feature Article - August 28, 2008

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Feature Article - August 28, 2008 Country Fairs this Past Weekend

Maberly Fair

Parham Fair

Traditional Maberly Fair entertains

By Julie Druker

Whitney Lewis of Perth and Natasha Struthers of Sharbot Lake won first place in the team relay at the Maberly Fair

Maberly held it’s 126th Agricultural Fair on Saturday. One of the oldest Agricultural Fairs in Ontario, the day-long event has continued to be a destination for those who enjoy traditional fairs.

The agricultural society has specifically made efforts to keep the fair free of commercialism and tied closer to its roots of an agricultural, community-based event.

Events as usual included the opening parade, the light horse show and horse draws. Exhibit entries were up this year and as usual included various produce, photographs, knitted, crocheted and quilted crafts, baked goods, livestock (including farm animals, poultry and alpacas) and, of course, games for children.

Prizes were awarded throughout the day to many people: the longest married couple, the eldest lady and gentleman, the farthest traveled person, etc.

The theme of the fair this year was tractors and there were plenty of them on display.

Rosetta McInnes, first time President of the Maberly Agricultural Society who put on the event was pleased with the turn out and grateful for the excellent weather.

She was very excited about what was new at the fair this year. “When we were organizing this year’s fair, we thought we’d have live entertainment for a change. We couldn’t put the entertainers inside so we built a grand stand outside. The idea is to try to keep people on the grounds longer. So anyone not too keen on the horse draws will stay for the live entertainment.”

The plan seemed to work.

The outdoor stage was built at the east end of the main building on the grounds and was a hot spot all afternoon long.

The stage line up included, Dr. Kaboom’s Mini Mobile Circus, which Rosetta said “was a big hit“. Other performers included The Carleton Place and District Community Band, The Lanark Kitchen Band, and The Kemptville Legion Pipe Band.

The Limestone City Cloggers, an Appalachian style clogging group led by Karen Doyle, put on quite a show in their bright red and white outfits, all stepping in unison to the upbeat sounds of Appalachian music.

The Land o’ Lakes Shriners were some of the best-dressed clowns around and painted youngsters’ faces and twisted up balloon animals for them

The fair ended with a large sit down buffet in the Quonset hut, a delicious feast of hot beef and BBQed chicken put on by Waterfall Catering.

A traditional agricultural fair of course can be affected by what is happening in the surrounding farming community. Wayne Wesley who usually runs the heavy horse show and who normally has at least 4-6 entries had none this year. He explained why. “Farmers are getting their hay in while they have a chance now that it’s finally not raining.”

The fair proved to be another success this year and the new live entertainment an added bonus to what has always been one of the area’s best-loved traditional fairs.

Something for everyone at the Parham Fair

By Julie Druker

Fair goers try their luck at midway games

The Parham Fair has certainly come a long way from its beginnings 116 years ago. It began on the property of the Goodfellow farm and funeral caskets were used as display stands to exhibit the competing entries of vegetables, baked goods and crafts.

Today in its 116th year, it is one of the oldest running fairs in all of Ontario, and with the caskets long gone, this small-town fair has grown to become one of the most popular attractions in the Frontenacs.

While sticking close to its traditional roots, fair organizers have worked tirelessly also to keep up with popular trends and to include events and entertainment that appeal to all ages and types.

In so doing, the annual fair is an event that envelops the entire local and surrounding communities and has something to offer for everyone.

On opening night, after the traditional welcomes by Mayor Janet Gutowski, Fair President Frank Goodfellow and of course Mel Good, the kids took to the midway, traditionalists to the main ring for the heavy horse draws, and contemporary music fans to see “Ambush” at the main stage.

The palace was fuller this year than in previous years and Julia Goodfellow, who was holding down the fort there, commented on the increased number of entries in most categories, along with an increase in general memberships.

Small but important changes have been made by organizers yearly to improve the overall quality of the event.

The grandstand was moved last year to face west so that the music would not interfere with the horse show.

Events have been added this year, like Maple the Cow, a life-like version of the real thing for kids to get to know, and karate demonstrations from Nikki Greenstreet’s group in Sharbot Lake, along with the ever expanding 4H shows.

These changes have proved effective and regular fair goers have noticed a difference. Syd and Sylvia Cain of Tweed, who cottage on Eagle Lake, have been coming to the fair every year since 1969. ”It’s really livened up a lot and seems cleaner and a lot more organized.”

Saturday was chock full of demonstrations and entertainment with the cattle and horse shows and a blacksmith and steam demonstrations.

There were games and finger painting for the kids, lawn mower races and karaoke for the competitive types.

Saturday’s entertainment line up also had something for everyone: the Parham Gospel singers, Carolyn and Kianna Derue, the Tweed Twangers and Crossroads.

On Sunday, as in other years, the most popular event of the day remained the Demolition Derby, a chance to witness car crashes where thankfully no one gets hurt.

First-time president Frank Goodfellow has been connected to the fair in a number of different guises over the past many years, along with many of the Parham Agricultural Society members who run the event.

As a result, his job as president has gone quite smoothly. “There’s a pretty good group of people that are working here and everyone is very familiar with what has to happen, so things seem to fall into place quite well.”

He pointed out that there is one area that is in definite need of improvement. “The biggest challenge for the fair as a whole is getting people to volunteer. That’s where we’re really starting to fall short.”

He explained that many older people who have been involved with the fair for years are taking a break and while the fair continues to grow, there is a real need for volunteers to step in and take their places.

Frank Goodfellow is taking a pro-active approach and is targeting the high schools, since students require a mandatory 40 hours of community service to graduate.

Efforts have been made to advertise as well.

Just as it takes a community to raise a child, it takes a community to put on a great fair.

Anyone interested in taking part in next year’s fair, whether by joining a committee or volunteering during the fair, can contact Frank Goodfellow at 613 375-6234. Every little bit helps.

Food Bank a big winner at the Parham Fair

The Hole-in-one Putting Contest at the Parham Fair on behalf of the Food Bank was a huge success thanks to the support of our community. $737 was raised. Our Volunteer Committee at the Simonett Building managed to gather 18 prizes for those who participated. The grand prize winner of the contest was Ray Hepburn of Godfrey, who won the overnight stay at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.

The Volunteer Committee of the Simonett Building and the volunteers at the Food Bank thank everyone who participated in this event. Also, many thanks to the Parham Agricultural Society for allowing us to participate in the Fair. Don’t forget to pick up your prizes!

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