Sun­shine and smash-ups

Oril­lia Fall Fair took place this past week­end

Packet & Times (Orillia) - - NEWS - PA­TRICK BALES pbales@post­media.com twitter.com/patrick­bales

The Oril­lia Fall Fair is try­ing to change with the times, and if the past week­end was any in­di­ca­tion, peo­ple are re­spond­ing.

“It’s a great turnout,” said Bob Bowles, pres­i­dent of the Oril­lia and Dis­trict Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety (ODAS), as he toured around the south park­ing lot Satur­day af­ter­noon. The one at the north end, he said, was al­ready at ca­pac­ity.

Af­ter a slow start Fri­day, peo­ple came to the fair en masse Satur­day and Sun­day, as or­ga­niz­ers were graced with a near per­fect fall week­end for the 167th edi­tion.

The usual pro­gram­ming: the live­stock shows, trac­tor pulls and de­mo­li­tion derby all re­mained, while the mid­way was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dumped thanks to the ser­vice provider go­ing out of busi­ness. In its place were a col­lec­tion of in­flat­able at­trac­tions which had line-ups through­out the af­ter­noon.

“We’re try­ing to change things up, try­ing to mix chil­dren and adults,” ex­plained Ja­nine Wood, one of the so­ci­ety’s directors, about 50 feet away from the new beer tent, which of­fered great views for the trac­tor pull. “You still have to en­cour­age peo­ple.”

One thing that isn’t chang­ing about the fair is that it is a place to both show­case your skills and dis­cover new hob­bies and habits that can be cul­ti­vated into new com­pe­ten­cies. With the chil­dren’s fair un­der her purview, Wood sees this first hand.

Amy Pat­ten­den got that ex­pe­ri­ence in front of a crowd of more than 1,000 cheer­ing fans as she took part in the de­mo­li­tion derby Satur­day af­ter­noon. The 2004 Dodge Neon she was driv­ing took a beat­ing in the qual­i­fy­ing heat, but was one of the three cars to move on.

There’s no se­cret to hav­ing a good derby car, she said.

“It’s all about pick­ing your shots,” she said. “Kind of pick­ing your car, what you want, but then you just go out there and it’s all about luck, re­ally.”

At 22, Pat­ten­den’s been be­hind the wheel of derby cars since she was 18.

“My dad did it when I was younger, so I grew up around it,” she ex­plained. “I got into about four years, seemed to like it and just kept go­ing at it.”

Ian Speare Sr. and his son Ian Jr. spent part of Satur­day at the fair ex­plor­ing a new hobby they’re par­tic­i­pat­ing in to­gether: model train build­ing.

The younger Speare was wideeyed and en­thu­si­as­ti­cally lis­ten­ing to mem­bers of the Mid­land Dis­trict Rail­road Club ex­plain the ins and outs of the mod­els they had set up in­side the Roller­skat­ing Palace.

“He’s at that age where he wants to do trains, so I don’t mind do­ing that,” Speare Sr. said. “He’s right into Lego; he’s more the cre­ative side. I bought him dirt bikes and ev­ery­thing, but he just doesn’t have any in­ter­est in that. So, keep him in­ter­ested in what­ever he’s in­ter­ested in.”

Still, the fall fair is an agri­cul­tural event and now can be used as a learn­ing tool for the area’s in­creas­ingly ur­ban pop­u­la­tion.

“I think a lot of peo­ple need to know where pro­duce comes from; it doesn’t come from the gro­cery store. You can grow a gar­den, you can grow things and en­ter them into the fair,” Wood said.

“We were talk­ing at meet­ings about how some fairs have got­ten away from an­i­mals. But where can you see a rab­bit up close or a cow that’s all trained that they can ac­tu­ally pet?”

PA­TRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

Young driv­ers got their turn be­hind the wheel as the open­ing at­trac­tion dur­ing the de­mo­li­tion derby Satur­day at the Oril­lia Fall Fair. Four tykes took part the the Power Wheels com­pe­ti­tion be­fore a huge crowd.

PA­TRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

Smoke was bil­low­ing from a sta­tion wagon tak­ing part in the de­mo­li­tion derby, af­ter be­ing rammed one too many times.

PA­TRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

Ad­di­son Mauko­nen wasn't sure about ei­ther the bunny or hav­ing her pic­ture taken Satur­day at the Oril­lia Fall Fair.

PA­TRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

For all the things that change about the Oril­lia Fall Fair, what doesn't is the abil­ity for area farm­ers of all ages to show­case agri­cul­ture and live­stock, as these three did with their cows Satur­day af­ter­noon.

PA­TRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

While there wasn't a mid­way at the Oril­lia Fall Fair this year, there were lots of ways for kids to have fun, such as the gi­ant hay bales stacked to­gether.

PA­TRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES

Peter Hock­ing of the Mid­land Rail­road Club gives Ian Speare some point­ers about build­ing his own model train set at home. The club took over a por­tion of the roller rink at ODAS Park dur­ing the Oril­lia Fall Fair.

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