Furry friends fair favourites

187th edi­tion of the Kingston Fall Fair opens Thurs­day at the Memo­rial Cen­tre

Kingston Whig-Standard - - NEWS - MIKE NOR­RIS mnor­ris@post­media.com

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.

JU­LIA MCKAY/THE WHIG-STAN­DARD

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.

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