Furry friends fair favourites
187th edition of the Kingston Fall Fair opens Thursday at the Memorial Centre
As Yvonne Compton sees it, you can’t go wrong by adding more animals to a fair.
And, just for good measure, throw in a sheep shearer, a chef, a blacksmith and some motorcycle stunt riders.
“They might bring in some more people,” said Compton, president of the Kingston and District Agricultural Society, which is presenting the 187th Kingston Fall Fair at the Memorial Centre. “We’re always looking to come up with something different, so it’s not the same old thing every year.”
The four-day exhibition opens Thursday at 8:30 a.m. with the Western Performance Horse Show inside the arena. The food vendors open for business at 9 a.m. and the midway opens at 3 p.m.
Compton is confident an expanded petting farm will be a hit with kids this year. The Greenly Petting Farm will be open Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. till 10 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We learned last year that the kids wanted to be where the animals are,” Compton said. “We hired a kids entertainer last year, but the kids didn’t go there; they wanted to see the animals. So we spent the money on that this year [instead of a children’s entertainer].”
The petting farm will include roosters, chickens, llamas, ducks, goats, a pot-bellied pig and miniature horses and donkeys.
The sheep-shearing demonstration will be done by Ottawa’s Tom Redpath, who will show off his skills Friday through Sunday on the infield portion of the grounds (between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday; between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday).
Redpath, who has more than 30 years experience shearing sheep, is in demand around eastern Ontario for his work.
“He’s a storyteller,” Compton said. “He [shears sheep] and talks about his trade. He loves to talk about his trade.”
A local farmer is providing 14 sheep for Redpath to shear during demonstrations over the three days. Redpath is known for using the Bowen Technique, developed in the 1950s by New Zealand brothers Godfrey and Ivan Bowen. They began using their non-shearing hand to stretch out the skin of the sheep, making the wool on the shorn fleece even, which makes it more attractive to buyers.
Located on the infield next to Redpath the same three days will be blacksmith Robert Vaughan of Ottawa, who will showcase his talents while Redpath takes a break.
“He’s a storyteller, too,” Compton said of Vaughan. “They’re a good fit together. A tag team.”
Ian Arthur, the head chef at Chez Piggy in Kingston, will be in a portable kitchen giving 45-minute cooking demonstrations Saturday (noon and 2 p.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m.) in the Bennett Barn, which is also the site of demonstrations of quilting, weaving, spinning, rug hooking and embroidering.
New on the entertainment bill this year is the Motorcross Thrill Show, featuring a group of riders from Port Perry performing stunts. They will put on half-hour demonstrations in front of the grandstand Friday at 12:30 and 8 p.m., Saturday at 6 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Yvonne Compton, Kingston and District Agricultural Society board president, ps seen with the first scarecrow to arrive in Kingston on Wednesday as part of the board scarecrow contest, just one of the things to take in at the 187th Kingston Fall Fair taking place at the Memorial Centre from Thursday to Sunday.