This Saturday, the 134th annual fair will take place in Maberly. To coincide with the Tay Valley 200th Anniversary, the theme is “Heritage”. The light horse show beginning at 9:00 am sharp. The opening parade of the ‘biggest little fair to stop traffic on Hwy 7,’ will commence at 10:30, entering the fairgrounds around 11:00 am.
New this year, following the opening ceremonies, will be a cake decorating contest including: Keith Kerr - Reeve Tay Valley Twp., Paddy O'Connor - Town Crier Central Frontenac, Gail Code - Warden Lanark County, Frances Smith - Mayor & Warden of Central Frontenac, and of course our very own Agricultural member Gordon Patterson - Vice President. They will hopefully all be dressed in period costume. Dave White from Lake 88 will act as MC. Once completed, the cakes will be auctioned off. The highest bid will determine the winner.
Tony Leduc, Hermann Amberger, Barb and John Fife, Fiddlers and Friends, and Norm Herns, Harry Van Alstine and friends will entertain on stage starting at noon. The horse draw starts at noon and the famous zucchini races begin at 1:30 p.m. Also on the grounds will be the West Wind Petting Farm, Psychic Marilyn of Kingston, Tai Chi Demonstration and others, plus all our hall displays. There will be Agricultural displays in the steel building this year, Milk Marketing board and Cattlemens Assoc. will have a display there. The dinner will be hosted by the Fall River Restaurant starting at 4 pm and will include pulled pork on a bun, salad, drink and dessert for $15.00. Entry to the fair is $5.00 for adults, 7 - 17 years $3.00 and 6 and under free.
Furry, four footed, four wheeled, and 4H are just some of the family-friendly words that brought plenty of smiles and loads of laughter to the participants and guests at one of the oldest old-fashioned fairs in these parts.
With this year's theme of sheep and goats, there was no shortage of four-footed animals to behold with numerous riders, and junior and senior 4H Club members competing in a number of animal classes that included the horse show, as well as calf, sheep, swine, poultry, fowl and rabbits classes.
Not to be missed were the horse and pony pulls and new this year was a special rabbit agility demonstration put on by members of the 4H rabbit club of Lanark under the direction of Bev Sevard, coordinator and rabbit and sheep leader for the 4H Club of Lanark. The demonstration involved the rabbits being led on leashes by their owners through an assortment of ramps, hoops, and teeter-totters. The rabbit owners spent six weeks practicing for the demonstration, which was one of their achievements. 4H beef leader Julie Dawson said the fair gives the young 4H beef members who participated a chance to learn and show their animals and is a reward for the hours and hours of time they put in leading up to the event.
As always the zucchini races were a major attraction for youngsters and oldsters alike. Wayne Wesley, who founded the race, which has been steadily growing in popularity year after year, manned the starting line and said he was thrilled to see the 40 entries this year, the most ever.
A stellar line up of live musical entertainment took place on the outdoor stage, including Hermann Amberger, Tony Leduc, Jessica Wedden, Fiddlers & Friends, and Tony Davy and Cathy Battison. The out buildings on the grounds were overflowing with a colorful bounty of produce, baked goods, comestibles, a huge assortment of arts and crafts comprising hundreds of exhibits. A vendors' alley also showcased many interesting exhibits that included alpacas from Silent Valley Alpaca near Ompah, a petting zoo courtesy of West Wind Petting Farm of Westport, and psychic readings by Marilyn of Kingston. Guests of all ages took part in numerous games. and prizes were awarded to the oldest and youngest guests, the farthest traveled, the longest married couple and more. The owners of the Fall River Restaurant in Maberly prepared the delicious dinner hour meal. Congratulations to the Maberly Agricultural Society and to all the coordinators , volunteers and donors who work so hard to continue to make the Maberly Fair such a treasured and worthwhile event.
Over 100 lively pancake lovers filled the Maberly hall for the Maberly Agricultural Society's annual Maple Festival/Pancake Brunch fundraiser on April 18. Diners enjoyed home-made maple baked beans, sausages, and pancakes made from a secret family recipe that organizers have been using since the fundraiser began over two decades ago. Proceeds from the event go towards supporting the annual Maberly Fair, which this year will take place on Saturday, August 29 at the fairgrounds. The theme for this year's fair is “sheep and goats” which should make the fair parade extra special and one to remember. Gord Patterson, who donated the maple syrup for the event, was also on hand selling his maple syrup products. Paul Pospisil, past president and current board member of the Agricultural Society, who also directs the horticulture division of the fair, had cleaned out his library earlier in the morning and donated a number of gardening books to the event.
The next fundraiser for the society will be their annual “Pie in the Sky” event, which will take place on Saturday, July 4 at the fairgrounds. Home-made pies will be up for grabs and the society's current president, Fred Barrett, will be on hand with one of his telescopes set up. He will be inviting guests to take a peek into the celestial spheres.
The Grand Parade of the Silver Lake Pow Wow is not an entirely solemn event, but it carries the weight of ceremony. The dancers enter the ring in a prescribed order, the flag bearers hop from one foot to the other to the beat of the drum, which performs a slow song that befits the occasion.
Although the Silver Lake Pow Wow is 19 years old, the gathering of communities at summer's end goes back a lot longer than that. Old friends greet each other with words and hugs, and after the elder has said a few words and the drum sends the assembled dancers through another turn around the ring, the parade breaks up and the greetings continue. Then the ring is opened up to everyone in attendance and it is completely filled. The Pow Wow is under way.
Photo: Kiley Stanley, 2nd from right, was declared Miss Garlic, the princess of the Maberly Fair parade.
At the Maberly Fair, the parade enters the fairgrounds led by two girls dressed as heads of garlic, followed by a marching pipe band, floats carrying entire extended families pulled by newer and older tractors (including one that is over 90 years old) followed by fire trucks. Politicians and heads of agricultural groups, as well as the fair convenor, bring greetings as the parade participants watch from the infield, but the fair is already underway. The Light Horse show is well into its second hour; the poultry are squawking away in the poultry display shed; Marilyn the Psychic is already making predictions in her booth; the zucchini vehicles are set out on a table even though the race is hours away, and old friends are greeting each other throughout the compact fairgrounds. It’s a one-day fair so no one wants to wait for the ceremony to be completed before starting to have fun.
Photo: Light Horse pull at Parham Fair.
The Parham Fair starts on Friday evening. The grandstand is almost full when the fair committee and township politicians proclaim the fair open, but the people aren’t paying much attention. They are waiting for the Light Horse pull to begin. They want to see if Bill Lee will win again (he will – at 7,200 pounds, see photo on page 9). Meanwhile kids and teenagers are gathering at the bandshell for the Cowboy/Cowgirl and Parham Idol contests to start. Ambush is ready to play when the contests end, and the midway is open for business.
These three events and others are all about people gathering in community to mark the end of another summer, before preparations begin for another harsh rural winter’s onset.