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