THE ROAD TO THE WIL­LIAMSTOWN FAIR

The Glengarry News - - Report On Agricultur­e - BEV RU­NIONS

What a won­der­ful, busy week­end at the Wil­liamstown Fair! I find the older I get, the longer it takes me to get back into the swing of things. The humid weather on Thurs­day and Fri­day was bru­tal but things cooled down some­what on Satur­day and Sun­day and this al­lowed for more com­fort­able con­di­tions for fair­go­ers.

They say it takes a vil­lage to raise a child, but how many vil­lages does it take to put on a fair? The Wil­liamstown Fair is most for­tu­nate to be sur­rounded by folks who come out ev­ery year to help to put on the “jewel of all fairs.” Help comes to us from many ar­eas and ev­ery­one help­ing out do­ing very dif­fer­ent tasks. Ei­ther by sit­ting on the board as a di­rec­tor, help­ing in the set­ting up and clean­ing up af­ter fair week­end, to help­ing to man the gates, park­ing, driv­ing our peo­ple movers and com­ing out to our count­less work­bees. It is ab­so­lutely amaz­ing that it takes us weeks to set ev­ery­thing up and on the Mon­day af­ter the fair it all dis­ap­pears. The busi­nesses from the area are ex­tremely gen­er­ous in sup­plies and ser­vices. The Town­ship of South Glen­garry and its staff are ex­tremely help­ful. Our vol­un­teers are the back­bone of this event. And to the towns­peo­ple: a thou­sand Thank Yous to you all for your pa­tience.

We will be host­ing our an­nual vol­un­teer ap­pre­ci­a­tion event on Sun­day, Sept. 11 in the Her­itage Hall from 3-5 p.m. You are most wel­come to come and let us show you how much we ap­pre­ci­ate all your help.

Plan­ning for next year’s fair starts im­me­di­ately af­ter this one ends. En­ter­tain­ers are re­booked, new ones are sought out, ideas are shared at our post­mortem meet­ing as to what went re­ally well and what is­sues need to be ad­dressed. The Board of Direc­tors works tire­lessly to bring new, in­no­va­tive ideas to the ta­ble and proudly watch as they come to fruition.

This year you may have no­ticed the new fence run­ning along John and Bethune Streets. You may also have no­ticed some en­er­getic folks dis­man­tling the old fence, erect­ing a new one and giv­ing it two coats of paint, all dur­ing bru­tal humid weather, mak­ing sure that it was ready for fair time.

One of the high­lights was the of­fi­cial open­ing of our new Her­itage Hall. This new venue proved to be very pop­u­lar. The Fair Board show­cased its his­tory and her­itage fo­cus­ing on the first 50 years (1808-1867). Katie La­marche worked her artis­tic magic with a mu­ral de­pict­ing a view look­ing through the bridge at the four cor­ners. Bruno Ma­jor had a help­ing hand in the re­search that was done de­tail­ing what it must have been like back

then and we truly ap­pre­ci­ate his in­put.

The of­fi­cial open­ing of the hall was held on the Satur­day af­ter­noon with a pri­vate cer­e­mony. In­vited dig­ni­taries, Past Pres­i­dents of the Fair Board and spouses, com­mit­tee mem­bers, board direc­tors and hall partners en­joyed a de­li­cious lun­cheon catered by Quinn’s Inn. Act­ing as MC, Pierre Roy, Pres­i­dent wel­comed ev­ery­one and a most poignant grace was given by Rev. Lois Gaudet. Her­itage Hall Com­mit­tee Chair­man, Mike Seguin thanked our par­tic­i­pat­ing partners, Glen­garry County Archives, Glen­garry Celtic Mu­sic Hall of Fame, Glen­garry Sports Hall of Fame, St. Mary’s Catholic Church, St. An­drew’s United Church, Glen­garry Agri­cul­tural Hall of Fame, Glen­garry Hol­stein Club, Glen­garry Nor’Westers and Loy­al­ist Mu­seum, Sir John John­son Manor House and the Wil­liamstown Green Thumbs for join­ing us as we re-pur­posed this hall for the show­cas­ing of the his­tory in our area. The Home and Gar­den Di­vi­sion

de­signed a dis­play show­cas­ing the Women’s In­sti­tute and their his­tory with the Wil­liamstown Fair in the Ex­hibit Hall. Al­lan MacDon­ald, Glen­garry County Ar­chiv­ist of­fi­cially opened the hall with a rib­bon cut­ting. The hall was then ded­i­cated by Rev. Lois Gaudet.

We are al­ways look­ing for “all things fair” for our archives. If you have doc­u­ments or mem­o­ra­bilia stored in your homes and would like to lend or give them to the fair board we would be most ap­pre­cia­tive.

Be­ing an agri­cul­tural fair we take pride in all things agri­cul­ture. Un­for­tu­nately, we could not host an Ayr­shire Show this year. It is hoped that next year cir­cum­stances will al­low us to once again showcase th­ese beau­ti­ful an­i­mals. 4-H events were well at­tended as was the Glen­garry Hol­stein Show. On Sun­day the barns were filled with do­mes­tic an­i­mals to the de­light of ur­ban and ru­ral visi­tors. The Her­itage Breeds tent was a pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for visi­tors and the posters that were sub­mit­ted for the com­peti-

tion were noth­ing short of amaz­ing.

All the horse events were up in num­bers. The sheep shear­ing demos were stand­ing room only. The Sir John John­son Build­ing had many dif­fer­ent agri­cul­tural ex­hibits and free choco­late milk thanks to the Glen­garry Milk Com­mit­tee. The Ex­hibit Hall was up by 300 en­tries.

The Wil­liamstown Fair has some­thing for ev­ery­one. You just have to scan our pro­gram guide. The week­end was packed full of events. The Sun­day Tu­gof-War was a real crowd pleaser, the two stages had con­tin­u­ous en­ter­tain­ment, the mid­way was busy. Our 18 food ven­dors re­ported great sales. And what about the free corn roast com­pli­ments of the Glen­garry Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­ture?

We were pleas­antly sur­prised to get a phone call that CTV Ot­tawa was on its way to do a fea­ture story. An­nie Berg­eronOliver did a won­der­ful seg­ment for the 6 p.m. news­cast that evening. Be­ing show­cased across East­ern On­tario was cer-

tainly im­pres­sive. To the lo­cal me­dia who fea­ture our news and events, our sin­cere thanks in help­ing us get the word out to come to our won­der­ful fair.

Be­fore I sign off I would like to thank The Glen­garry News for al­low­ing me to put “pen to pa­per” for this short pe­riod of time. I have en­joyed dig­ging through my closet full of fair stuff and share with you some his­tory and get you ex­cit­ing about com­ing to this year’s fair. I truly ad­mire all the lo­cal cor­re­spon­dents for all they do to bring their towns and vil­lages to life. Your weekly com­mit­ment is ad­mirable. To Sue Har­ring­ton who did it for 30-plus years, I take my hat off to you. What a re­mark­able ac­com­plish­ment! I truly hope that some­one will come for­ward and take on the Wil­liamstown col­umn. There is so much go­ing on in this area and the weekly col­umn has re­ally been missed.

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