Drayton Farm Show celebrates 40 years with successful event

DRAYTON – The 40th anniversary of the Drayton Farm Show was something to celebrate. 

All walks of life – infants and near-centenarians, hobby farmers and queens, and those who simply love learning more about their agricultural community – turned out to the PMD arena in Drayton on April 10 and 11.

Drayton Kinsmen Club member and show chair Ray Kuper said this year’s show boasted over 100 vendors and attracted over 2,700 visitors.

Approximately $5,500 was raised for Cystic Fibrosis Canada and $33,000 for community projects like the Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation MRI+ Campaign.

Mapleton Historical Society member Gayle Metzger was part of the team that put together a retrospective to “thank the Kinsmen for all they’ve done for our community,” she said. 

The display included a photo album depicting all the toy tractors that have been featured at the show and posters from previous years. 

Marlene Ottens, township councillor and another society member, said every year the society tries to focus on agriculture-related displays.

“Last year was century farms. This year, given that this is the 40th anniversary and there was a presentation from the council yesterday, it seemed appropriate to create a tribute to the Kinsmen,” said Ottens.

Mapleton Mayor Gregg Davidson made a presentation to the Drayton Kinsmen in honour and recognition of the Drayton Farm Show’s 40th anniversary.

As they did last year, the Ladies Auxiliary of the Drayton Legion helped at the entrance table. And along with the arena concession, Drayton Minor Hockey had the run of the kitchen inside the arena. 

“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Shannon Frook, one of the self-titled “hockey parents.” 

“We do amazingly well and companies like Conestogo Agri Systems help with supplying product.”

Phil DeVries of Deboer’s Equipment in Elora lauded the farm show’s “great community atmosphere,” noting, “Whether you are a retired farmer or an active farmer you’re here to see people. It’s like a spring reunion.” 

Bert Black, Peter Den Hoed and Jack Smeltzer, all former farmers, made an afternoon of it on Thursday, and enjoyed checking out various vendors and meeting old friends like Neil Driscoll of Driscoll Farms.

Wellington County Queen of the Furrow Kourtland Pearen, who works at Parkinson Farms as a farm hand operating large John Deere equipment, has attended many events as part of her reign, including this year’s farm show. 

“It was great to be able to see all the different vendors and the new products that are available for farmers to use for their operations,” Pearen said. She also enjoyed “being able to connect with different people throughout the day and talk about their involvement in agriculture and the community.

“I even had the opportunity to meet 2012 queen of the furrow, Courtney Conners,” she said.

John Linthorst, a dairy farmer from Gowanstown, brought three of his children, Stella, Malcolm and Margot, to take in the show. 

“We come every year. Wouldn’t miss it,” he said.

Dianne Luyten of Milverton said she brought her son Matthew because, “he loves tractors.” 

Members of the Upper Canada Two-Cylinder Club were raffling a John Deere 110 tractor. Members Sheila Morden and Ron Rody have been with the club since its inception over 30 years ago. 

President David Craig said the club raises funds for the community, including a recent donation of $3,000 to the Palmerston hospital MRI campaign, $1,000 to the Minto fire department and $500 to the Palmerston foodbank.

Lorie Black