Time to saddle up for Winter Fair
There are more animals than at Old MacDonald’s Farm as the country has come to the big city for the next week.
Yes, there’s a moo, moo here, oink, oink there along with a quack, quack, neigh, neigh, baa, baa and cluck, cluck at the 95th Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
It’s time to get your boots polished and saddle up for the big show this weekend through Nov. 12 at Exhibition Place.
“Since its humble beginnings 95 years ago, the Royal has grown into a beloved Toronto tradition and an arena of excellence for culinary arts, agriculture and equine sport,” said Charlie Johnstone, chief executive officer.
There are “top chefs and food producers offering the best in the farm-to-table movement,” along with decorated Olympian equestrians competing for a place on the Royal podium, he added.
It’s an aggie fair unlike any other with more than 2,000 agricultural competitions featuring 5,000 animals, artisan cheeses, Ontario wines, giant vegetables, butter sculpting and more.
Animals are the big draw, including the equestrian competitions and performing dogs: Dairy cattle: The National Ayrshire, Red and White Holstein and Jersey shows will take place in the new Ring of Excellence.
There will be the 4-H Dairy Classic, youth show and National Black and White Holstein show at the Ricoh Coliseum. Sheep and wool: The Royal welcomes 400 sheep with eight special breeds — Suffolk, Oxford, Lincoln, Texel, North County Cheviot, Southdown, Hampshire and Dorsets. Poultry waterfowl and fancy-birds See 50 different breeds of standard poultry, 48 bantams, 40 pigeons and 34 breeds of waterfowl competing. Goats: Check out 250 goats competing in 13 divisions while the Youth Goat show has pee www junior, intermediate and senior junior, intermediate and senior divisions. Rabbits and cavies (guinea pigs): They’re fun, cute and kids love them, with more than 100 different selections of breeds.
There are several classes showcasing wool and garments made of angora wool and other natural fibres.
The Royal Horse Show, held in conjunction with the fair, hosts 1,000 competitors and offers $1 million in prize money.
International show jumping athletes perform in the World Cup competition.
This includes Olympians Kent Farrington and McLain Ward, ranked first and third in the world, respectively.
The Canadian Show Jumping Championship has the best, including 12-time winner and defending champion Ian Millar of Perth.
A rodeo and the K-9 Equine Relay featuring the Super-Dogs are family favourites returning this year.
Birds of prey are a new event with a series of daily hawk and owl demonstrations to “thrill fairgoers and illustrate the relationship between farmers and their feathery friends.”
Learn about the “ongoing legacy of innovation in Ontario agriculture and food” at an exhibit produced in association with the University of Guelph.
Along with cooking demonstrations, there’s an introduction to world food with samplings and the Farm-to-Table Discovery Zone to meet beekeepers, find out how greenhouses work and take a virtual reality tour of a dairy farm.
There are many opportunities and facilities to wine, dine and unwind with several restaurants and a food court and savouring award-winning craft beer, cider and wine.
Kent Farrington of the U.S., the top show-jumping athlete in the world, is competing at the Royal Horse Show.