It’s Fair Time!

Stanstead Journal - - STANSTEAD JOUR­NAL - Vic­to­ria Vanier Ayer's Cliff

The Stanstead County Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety’s 171st an­nual ex­hi­bi­tion, bet­ter known as the Ayer’s Cliff Fair, be­gins this Thurs­day on the fair­grounds, a lo­cale that may be des­ig­nated as a his­toric site by next year’s an­nual event. “Prepa­ra­tions are go­ing ex­tremely well. There has been a crew here all week and it is a real bee’s nest of ac­tiv­ity, putting on the fi­nal touches and clean­ing every­thing,” said Ayer’s Cliff Fair pres­i­dent An­gus MacK­in­non. “We’re blessed with a bank of vol­un­teers who just put the fair on their cal­en­dar and then show up. We have two and three gen­er­a­tions of fam­i­lies who vol­un­teer; a real con­ti­nu­ity in the vol­un­teer base,” added Mr. MacK­in­non.

Fair vol­un­teers have ac­tu­ally been busy for months, in­stalling a new roof on the Hor­ti­cul­ture Build­ing and con­vert­ing box stalls in the horse barn to stand­ing stalls so more horses can fit in.

The an­i­mal en­tries, be­sides the horse en­tries which al­ways seem to fill the horse barns, are up for the first time in a few years; all the an­i­mal barns will be full to burst­ing. “The farm­ers will be in the barns to an­swer

ques­tions. They like that be­cause they take a lot of pride in their an­i­mals,” said the pres­i­dent. Mr. MacK­in­non also pointed out an in­ter­est­ing fact: there is a new gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren, across the coun­try, who have never vis­ited a farm. The pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions al­ways had one rel­a­tive or another who owned a farm, how­ever, there are much fewer farms now, and fewer farm­ers in Canada. “We’ve reached a rather im­por­tant so­cial point.”

All the tra­di­tional events are back: the live­stock con­tests, hor­ti­cul­tural con­tests, needle­work and arts and crafts com­pe­ti­tions, ar­ti­san and sou­venir kiosks, and the ex­cit­ing har­ness rac­ing on Satur­day af­ter­noon. There will be three nights of en­er­getic mu­si­cal en­ter­tain­ment at the Grand­stand be­gin­ning with Tim Brink, fresh off of La Voix, on Thurs­day, the Coco Coun­try Band on Fri­day night, and Brett Kis­sel on Satur­day night. What’s new will be “The Cutest Baby” con­test for tiny tots two years of age and un­der. Par­ents can reg­is­ter for the event on the Fair’s Face­book page or just show up be­fore the con­test on Thurs­day at 6:00 pm. “Ev­ery mother will leave with a prize!” promised the Fair pres­i­dent. Another new at­trac­tion will be the “Su­per Dogs” show put on by the Club Ca­nine of Sher­brooke, on Sun­day at noon in front of the Grand­stand.

The Hat­ley 4H Club will hold its an­nual live Tur­key Auc­tion, to ben­e­fit the Chil­dren’s Wish Foun­da­tion, at 1:30 on Sun­day. The tur­keys are de­liv­ered pre­pared and plucked to the win­ning bid­ders just in time for Thanks­giv­ing.

Dur­ing the Open­ing Cer­e­mony of the Fair, on Fri­day evening, the mem­bers of the Fair’s 175th Plan­ning Com­mit­tee will be an­nounced. “We’re look­ing for more peo­ple who would like to join the com­mit­tee,” said Mr. MacK­in­non. Any­one look­ing for more in­for­ma­tion about join­ing can call Fair sec­re­tary Jen­nifer Bowen. This year, one dol­lar from ev­ery ticket sold to en­ter the fair­grounds will go to­wards a spe­cial fund for the 175th an­niver­sary.

“The Ayer’s Cliff Fair wouldn’t be pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port of our spon­sors. They in­vest in the com­mu­nity and their con­tri­bu­tion is not just im­por­tant but es­sen­tial to the run­ning of the Fair,” con­cluded the Barn­ston West dairy farmer.

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The pres­i­dent of the Ayer’s Cliff Fair, An­gus MacK­in­non, is hop­ing for a good turnout at this week­end’s event.

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