Olympians come to AC fair

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier Ayer's Cliff

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.

Phots Stanstead Jour­nal

Eques­trian Olympian Colleen Loach

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