Olympians come to AC fair
The summer’s finale has come and gone, another “resounding success”, as organizers put it. “Mother Nature could have held off a few more hours on Sunday, otherwise I would have to say we had a very happy and joyful fair. Saturday night’s attendance for Brett Kissel might have been a record. He was more popular than we expected and there must have been between 3000 and 4000 spectators. He loved the crowd, they were so enthusiastic, and he said it was one of his best shows of the year,” said Ayer’s Cliff Fair president, Angus MacKinnon. Performing at the Ayer’s Cliff Fair is a way for top Canadian Country performers to break into the lucrative French market in Quebec, so they love to come to the smaller venue. “We’re very grateful for the volunteers who come out every year. We can’t thank them enough for their devotion and their passion. And ‘Hats off’ to our devoted secretary, Jennifer Bowen,” he added.
The attendance, this year, was around 24,000 and the animal barns were all full to bursting. There were prize dairy and beef cattle, goats, sheep and poultry, heavy draft horses and miniature horses less than three feet high! Olympic medalist Josée Belanger, from the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team, made a surprise visit to the fair on Saturday morning. Organizers had hoped she would be in the parade on Sunday along with fellow Olympic athlete from the Eastern Townships, see Olympians,
equestrian Colleen Loach. However, she had to return to Florida on Saturday to continue her soccer season with the Orlando Pride. “People were thrilled to see a medal from the Olympics and Josée was very friendly and engaging,” said Mr. MacKinnon. Hundreds of fair visitors had their photo taken with the Coaticook soccer star who attended the fair with father Luke Belanger, a big supporter of the event. Ms. Belanger even got down on her knees to give the children who approached her a chance to get a really good look and touch of the huge and heavy bronze medal.
The crowd on Sunday was thrilled to see Olympian Colleen Loach, a former Ayer’s Cliff Fair equestrian competitor just back from Rio, leading the parade in Eddy Blake’s wagon. “The Ayer’s Cliff Fair is her fair; she rode ponies and horses here. So I guess you could say that the Ayer’s Cliff Fair contributed to creating an Olympian!” said the fair president.
The Hatley 4H Club held their annual live Turkey Auction on Sunday, raising $5,600 for the Children’s Wish Foundation. The biggest turkey was bought by the beef cattle exhibitors for $2,600, so I hope they’re getting good prices for their calves at auction these days! The second biggest turkey was bought by the Dairy cattle exhibitors for $1,300 while turkey number three was bought by the Heavy Horse exhibitors for $500. “We even had one gentleman, a Canadian, bidding over the phone from Kuwait for a turkey,” mentioned Mr. MacKinnon.
There was a fun and historic display set up in the Main Building by Dixville’s Elie Bailey about the fair. There were old photographs dating back to the early 1900’s, decades old leads the parade at the Ayer’s Cliff Fair, on Sunday, in Eddy Blake’s wagon. fair books and other memorabilia. Organizers of both the Ladies Department and the Horticulture Department admitted that entrees in those areas were quite down this year. A new ‘wave’ of young and old gardeners and crafters will have to step up and get involved if those exhibits are to continue.
“We hold a wine and cheese at the fair with the mayors from surrounding municipalities and we talk about the fair; everyone has a story to tell about the Ayer’s Cliff Fair. Time seems to stop when you go to the Ayer’s Cliff Fair. We must keep up that spirit,” concluded Mr. MacKinnon.
Olympic bronze medalist Josée Bélanger, seen here with her father Luke Bélanger at left and fair president Angus MacKinnon, visited the Ayer’s Cliff Fair on Saturday morning, taking photos with hundreds of fair-goers and letting people touch her impressive medal.
Dairy farmer and Fair president Angus MacKinnon with Ayer’s Cliff mayor Alec van Zuiden at the Opening Ceremony.
Equestrian Olympian Colleen Loach