Days pass and the rhythm of the seasons is now showing. Tractors in the fields bailing hay, the now round bale dotting the fields. And soon the sounds of the fair.
The running joke at the Stanstead Journal is that founder LeRoy Robinson, having witnessed the success of the first Ayer’s Cliff Fair a couple of weeks before the launch of the paper in 1845, decided that publishing a paper here would be a success. After all, year after year, he would publish the program and get rich as a result.
Well, this paper and the fair have survived and both are ongoing businesses, with more highs and lows than a modern roller coaster, but always an interesting ride. Both have witnessed other fairs and papers coming and going; both still modern and stuck in time.
But back to what the season means. It’s harvest time, so you have to sell what you have harvested and get the best price possible for your effort. Now, if you have been judged as the best grower, breeder, in your region, you will get a better price. Simple basic economic principle. Good for you if you are the grand prize winner and, if you are at the bottom, you now know what buyers are looking for and you may have gotten a couple of tips along the way.
We must realize that going to the fair was quite an affair in the old days. It was not a fifteen minute ride but a real family outing in your Sunday’s best. It was also a time for dating without having a chaperone watching your every step. Boys showing what they could do and girls showing what they had. Girls were looking for boys that were winners and good looking. Parents were discussing the offspring choices, leading to proposals at Christmas and weddings the next summer. Tame by today’s standards; quite risqué then.
The local implement manufacturer would also be there. They would be local because long distance shipping had not been invented yet. Railroads were in their infancy and it would take almost a century to have drivable roads year long. There is a reason why Joseph Armand Bombardier invented the snow-mobile: roads were impracticable during the winter. So everything was locally made if possible, anything made outside the immediate region being prohibitive to import. So the fair was the best occasion to show your wares to your only real prospective customers. All of our major villages were located near water for a good reason: this was the cheapest way to transport goods. Rock Island is named because a canal was dug here to cross the waterfall.
Globalization is not something new as you can see. Rock Island’s canal is unseen, not a single local politician able to see its tourism potential, most dreaming of the glory of the Butterfield’s coming back.
Yet it is at these fairs that tomorrow’s businesses are seen, someone showing what seems like a far-fetched idea, yet some will see potential in it. Maybe a Bombardier trying to explain why their contraption will work and help close the seasons divide.
So fair season is not only fun, it’s a lesson in history. Seen here at the announcement of the recycled art contest finalists were (l. to r.): comedian Ressourcerie Director Ressourcerie Board president political attachée to Minister Bibeau, and Ressourcerie Director
On Monday, the Ressourcerie des Frontieres announced the winners in its Concours D’Artistes Recuperateurs. More than ninety Quebecers from across the province registered for the contest to create a work of art out of recycled materials. A jury selected these sixteen finalists from the 53 works that were submitted: category public, Louise Roy, Marie-Eve Gagnon, Monique Trudeau, Philippe Desormeaux and Serge Morache; category professional, Carole Melancon, David Bernier, Ida Rivard, Koni Marcoux and Norman Brooke; category young artist, Laurence Dubé and Oceane Lachance; category group work, Centre Communautaire Hatley, La Frontaliere, Emily and Heidi Buzzell and Liette Couture and Linda Madaraz.
The works will be on exhibit from August 26th to October 25th at the following sites: Interpretation Centre Riviere des Cerises, The Ressourcerie des Frontieres in Coaticook, The Ressourcerie des Frontieres store in Magog, and in Place JR Lefebvre in Coaticook. People are welcome to go and see the art and vote on their favourites to get the chance to win a $100 prize. The artists in the different categories who receive the most votes will get a prize of $750.
The winners will be announced at a special dinner held at the Frontaliere high school, in Coaticook, on October 29th, which will feature a show by comedian Daniel Grenier. Minister and Compton-Stanstead MP Marie-Claude Bibeau will be the honorary president of the evening. Profits from the evening will go towards the organization’s mission of communication, education and and sustainable development. If your business would like to support this event, contact the Ressourcerie des Frontieres.
Karine Cantin; Jacqueline Belleau; Julie Grenier; Jean Des Rosiers. Daniel Grenier;