THE ROAD TO THE WILLIAMSTOWN FAIR
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.