Lo­cal Fair far­ing well

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Vic­to­ria Vanier Ayer's Cliff

All those Que­be­cers who love to go to sum­mer agri­cul­tural fairs, and there are thou­sands and thou­sands of us, should count their lucky stars that our fairs are well-at­tended and hold­ing their own fi­nan­cially, un­like the sit­u­a­tion south of the bor­der. In a very re­cent ar­ti­cle pub­lished in a Mon­treal English lan­guage daily, it was re­ported that attendance at county fairs in Illi­nois had dropped by about a third be­tween 2000 and 2013, also re­port­ing that the 158 year-old Macon County Fair was “broke” and had been can­celled al­to­gether.

This sum­mer’s edi­tion of the Ayer’s Cliff Fair had great weather and great attendance to go along with it; the barns were full of an­i­mals and the grand­stands were full of peo­ple. The Spon­sor­ship Pro­gram was ini­ti­ated just a few years ago to help en­sure the con­tin­ued suc­cess of the Ayer’s Cliff Fair, and it seems to be do­ing just that. “The Fair Board is a non-profit so our goal has al­ways been to break even or make just a lit­tle money, but, more im­por­tantly, to keep it an af­ford­able event for ev­ery­one. A few years ago we de­cided it would be good to part­ner with busi­nesses to be able to pro­vide an even bet­ter event that was still very af­ford­able,” ex­plained An­gus MacK­in­non, the di­rec­tor on the Fair Board re­spon­si­ble for the pro­gram.

Although pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als can also take part in the spon­sor­ship pro­gram, it is a pro­gram

aimed at lo­cal busi­nesses in­volved in the agri­cul­tural field and those that ben­e­fit from the an­nual event that at­tracts thou­sands to the area. “We go to agri­cul­tural busi­nesses first: they go to the fair and most of their clients go as well. For ex­am­ple, the Coat­i­cook coop is a farmer’s coop and it has a role in the com­mu­nity. We want the busi­nesses to feel at­tached to the event be­cause, if the fair prof­its, then busi­nesses profit, too.”

“When we came up with the Spon­sor­ship Pro­gram, and pro­vided all the de­tails, most of the com­ments from the busi­nesses were pos­i­tive. I found that most busi­nesses were sup­port­ive and happy to do so,” added Mr. MacK­in­non.

The busi­nesses are not just asked for money. Rather, amounts are sug­gested and the po­ten­tial spon­sors are told what their money will be used for and what the ad­van­tages, mostly good pub­lic­ity and vis­i­bil­ity, will be to them. The Ever­est Equip­ment Company, of Ayer’s Cliff, is one of the lo­cal com­pa­nies that has come on board the pro­gram, spon­sor­ing the stage of the Grand­stand. “Hav­ing the Spon­sor­ship Pro­gram has helped to keep the ticket prices low. We want a fam­ily of four or six to be able to go to the fair; we want it to re­main ac­ces­si­ble to the pub­lic. We’re not there to make money from peo­ple, but to ren­der a ser­vice to the com­mu­nity, pro­vide an event where peo­ple can gather and frat­er­nize. And the pub­lic has re­sponded pos­i­tively, com­ing out to the fair in large num­bers. There was a re­ally good feel­ing on the fair­grounds dur­ing this sum­mer’s fair,” con­cluded Mr. MacK­in­non.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.