Ayer’s Cliff Fair on track
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.
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