Ayer’s Cliff Fair on track

Stanstead Journal - - FROM PAGE ONE - Vic­to­ria Vanier Ayer’s Cliff

Prepa­ra­tions

for the 166th edi­tion of the Ayer’s Cliff Fair are com­ing along fine, ac­cord­ing to Steve Brus, the fair’s pres­i­dent for the sec­ond year in a row. “This spring we re­placed the rid­ing ring and the warm-up ring. We scraped and painted the back wall of the grand­stand, the bou­tiques have all been painted

and the small an­i­mal barn has been painted,” said Mr. Brus.

“We’re get­ting a lot of cat­tle en­tries; it looks like we’ll have a full house. The horse barns are all full; we have a big show of horses and we had to start turn­ing peo­ple down. We’ll also have sev­eral classes of pigs this year,” he com­mented. The num­ber of an­i­mals that take part in the fair, when you con­sider how much time and trou­ble it takes for their own­ers to trans­port them there to show them off, not to men­tion all the wash­ing and groom­ing, is im­pres­sive. On hand for all to ad­mire will be about 130 dairy cows, about 100 beef cows, along with a few bulls, about 100 draft horses and more than 100 light horses. And that doesn’t in­clude all the smaller farm an­i­mals: poul­try, pigs, goats, sheep, and the 60 or 70 horses that will come for the har­ness races on Satur­day.

A num­ber of new ac­tiv­i­ties have been added to the tra­di­tional line-up of fun. “We’ll have pony rides for the young kids at the pet­ting zoo. We’re also go­ing to try an auc­tion of tur­keys that the mem­bers of the Hat­ley 4H Club have been rais­ing. The tur­keys will be there, live, for the auc­tion, but will be de­liv­ered, dressed, at a later date. The club will then give the pro­ceeds of the auc­tion to It should be fun for peo­ple who like auc­tions,” Mr. Brus added. The tur­key auc­tion will take place at the grand­stand af­ter the an­i­mal pa­rade. Or­ga­niz­ers are also plan­ning some kind of Christ­mas Tree dis­play which should be in­ter­est­ing.

A lot of lo­cal tal­ent will pro­vide the mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment this year, be­gin­ning with the youth tal­ent con­test on Thurs­day night. Lo­cal group will per­form in the Re­cre­ation Cen­tre in the evening while singer Va­lerie Crete will per­form Fri­day night at the grand­stand. Well-known coun­try band, will surely bring the house down on Satur­day night.

Some of the fair’s ticket prices have gone up this year. En­trance fees for Thurs­day and Fri­day are the same as last year: $10 ex­cept for Fri­day’s ‘Kid­die’s Day’ when it is $6 for kids 12 years and younger. The Satur­day and Sun­day en­trance fee has gone from $10 to $12 and the four day pass went up $5 to $30. “We felt we had to put the fee up in or­der to keep up with all the re­pairs. Other ex­penses like the li­a­bil­ity in­surance and the en­ter­tain­ment have also gone up. Re­plac­ing the show ring for the horses was a pro­ject of over $10,000. We’ll have to do the paint­ing of the new show ring next year, af­ter the wood has dried,” ex­plained Mr. Brus.

With a bud­get of roughly $300,000, it can be a chal­lenge to man­age the fi­nances of the Ayer’s Cliff Fair, as it is with most other agri­cul­tural fairs in the prov­ince. Mother Na­ture is the big­gest fac­tor, it seems, when it comes to the suc­cess of coun­try fairs; sunny and dry weather be­ing the hoped-for fore­cast. “We get some sup­port from the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to help with the prize money for the an­i­mals and with spe­cial agri­cul­tural dis­plays. Last year we had a good year but be­fore that, we had a se­ries of rainy years. It all de­pends on the weather.”

“I’d like to thank all the vol­un­teers, we have dozens of them that help with the re­pairs, the main­te­nance, and who help dur­ing the event with the or­ga­niz­ing. We couldn’t do it with­out them,” con­cluded the pres­i­dent.

Steve Brus is pres­i­dent of this

year’s Fair.

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