Drayton Fair cancelled again – but some events will carry on

MAPLETON – For the second year in a row the Drayton Fair is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Drayton Mapleton Agricultural Society announced April 5 that “regrettably,” members will once again miss presenting/providing their neighbours  with “the sights, sounds and smells of their annual fair, the agricultural building filled with entries, the horse, pet and livestock shows, the roar of tractors pulling the sled down the track, the smell of french fries wafting through the air, and especially the gathering of the  community.

“In these uncertain times, the members of the society have adapted and are moving on with ‘Plan B,’” officials state in a press release.

However, officials note, many of the society’s traditional events will still take place. With the addition of new events, the society is expecting to have a successful year.

The first event of the season, a takeout ham and scalloped potatoes dinner on April 3, was sold out and the society extends “a heartfelt thank you”  to everyone who supported the event.

On Aug. 7, the society will host a smoked pork chop dinner. More details will follow closer to the date.

Some old favourites from the annual fair, including the pet show and the baby show, will be reinvented as virtual events on this date. Extra categories will be added to the baby show for babies missed last year.

New this year is a car rally that will enable participants to enjoy the sights of the Mapleton community.

The final event of the year will be the Drayton Fall Harvest Festival on Sept. 18 at the fairgrounds, 49 Elm Street, Drayton.

The festival will feature a Pumpkin Chuckin’ competition. Teams must build their own pumpkin throwing trebuchet, (no pneumatic or other non-gravity powered throwers are permitted). Each team gets three throws and pumpkins will be provided.  Over $300 in cash prizes are available to be won.

Also, at the festival are sunflower and pumpkin growing contests. Categories in the sunflower competition are tallest, largest head and most heads. Total prize money for each class is $85. Mapleton residents Matt and Leona Ottens have offered to supply sunflower seeds for the competition. Seed pick up dates and times will be announced.

Pumpkin contest classes include largest (circumference), heaviest and best carved. Cash prizes for each class total $85. For local vendors interested in showcasing crafts, food or other products, tables will be available ($20 per eight foot table). Also planned are scaled-down competitions in leisure, youth, horticulture, baking (appearance only), preserves (and) roots and vegetables (divisions).

“The past year has presented many challenges to the society, financial and otherwise,” society officials state.

Expenses, including utility, insurance and maintenance costs, that ran into the thousands of dollars, still had to be paid even though the society was unable to generate revenue from the fair, the rental of  their facilities for meetings and other functions or by operating catering services).

Financial donations and class sponsorships are needed from the community in order to cover prize money for competitions taking place during the Fall Harvest Festival and to fund other special 2021 events.

For donors, a wall of sponsors will be created to recognize their generosity and all donators will receive a tax receipt.

For more information or to donate, contact president John Foster at 519-503-7843 or thornybrae123@gmail.com or treasurer Arlie Zantinge at 519-638-3323 or draytonagsociety@gmail.com.