A man to re­mem­ber Fair fea­tures four gen­er­a­tions of the same fam­ily From Stanstead Jour­nal, Au­gust 24, 2015

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS - Ayer's Cliff

It’sMon­day morn­ing and the Ayer’s Cliff fair­grounds are buzzing with ac­tiv­ity as vol­un­teers work to get the cam­pus ready for Thurs­day morn­ing and the open­ing of the 160th Ayer’s Cliff Fair.

Mem­bers of the hor­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety are on the hor­ti­cul­ture build­ing, sweep­ing and dust­ing, wash­ing win­dows and mak­ing re­pairs to any­thing that may re­quire them.

In the chicken barn, 93-year-old Doug John­ston leans against a bank of cages, watch­ing as peo­ple place feed­ing dishes into the chicken cages.

This is John­ston’s 76th year at the fair and he’s just thrilled about it. He’s has fam­ily show­ing in the com­pe­ti­tion. His daugh­ter, Heather Cooper has flown in from Cal­gary to take part in the fair. She’s help­ing place the feed cups in the cages.

“I’ve shown just about ev­ery­thing you can here,” he said. “I’ve shown horses, cows, sheep, chick­ens, just not goats.”

John­ston is look­ing for­ward to the chicken com­pe­ti­tion this year. “We have 368 birds be­ing shown this year,” he said. “We just fin­ished putting all the tags up.”

One thing he is very proud of is that fact that there are 144 en­tries from youth un­der 14. Doug started the 4-H club in the area, lead­ing it for 63 years. He helped teach gen­er­a­tions of lo­cal kids how to raise and care for an­i­mals. Doug him­self has a few chick­ens show­ing this year, as well as some veg­eta­bles that will be in the hor­ti­cul­ture build­ing.

Doug has been a peren­nial part of the fair. He’s been a di­rec­tor for longer than he can re­mem­ber and has served as pres­i­dent four times. He helped build most of the build­ing that sit on the fair­grounds. “The only ones I didn’t have a hand in build­ing are the main hall and the grand­stand,” he said. “They were around be­fore I was.” This year his son Sandy is serv­ing as pres­i­dent. What’s more, his grand­daugh­ter Stacey is also a di­rec­tor. She’s been busy get­ting the at­trac­tions booked and make sure things are or­ga­nized for the open­ing.

He’s also proud to note that four of his great-grand­chil­dren are show­ing birds at the fair. “One of them is nine years old,” he said. “He has 36 birds com­ing. He’s nine and he knows all about the birds and how to raise them.”

“We’re a very fam­ily-ori­ented fair,” said Stacey John­ston. “There are lots of ac­tiv­i­ties for kids and adults.”

She’s pretty happy to be work­ing with her fa­ther and grand­fa­ther on the fair. “When we were kids, we used to tag along and help out,” she said. “I re­mem­ber that from the end of July, we trav­eled to four dif­fer­ent fairs: the Sher­brooke Fair, the Cook­shire Fair, the Ayer’s Cliff Fair, and the Brome Fair. Some­times we went to Rich­mond.”

Photo Ar­chives

Doug John­ston

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