Volunteers key to success of Fergus Fall Fair

FERGUS – The 183rd edition of the Fergus Fall Fair takes place Sept. 12-15 at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex, with a wide variety of entertaining and educational activities for visitors to enjoy.

Complete information, with everything from performance schedules to the rules for entering various exhibits, is available at fergusfallfair.ca. Sections of the fair booklet can be downloaded, and there is also material available on Facebook and Instagram.

The theme for 2019 is Autumn Skies and Pumpkin Pies. Themes are already lined up for the following four years: Sunshine, Showers & Fresh Cut Flowers in 2020, Country Fun for Everyone in 2021, Weather Vanes & Harvest Grains in 2022 and Hoof, Paw & Claw Showing Our Pride in 2023.

It is the 10th oldest fair in Ontario, with generations of volunteers dedicated to organizing it every year since 1836.

While the original focus of advancing agriculture remains, the fair has grown to include truck and tractor pulls, handicraft and food exhibits, a midway and entertainment, making it a showcase of talent for the Centre Wellington community.

Tayler Black, president of the Fergus Agricultural Society, said “I encourage you to find some sections and classes that pique your interest, and take advantage of the opportunity to exhibit as part of this year’s fair.”

He thanked the sponsors that generously support the event every year, including companies, families and individuals, and help maintain the fall fair tradition.

“I would also like to thank all of the volunteers, committee members and directors who spend hundreds of hours working throughout the year, and especially on the fair weekend,” he said.

“Your hard work and dedication is evident in the array of displays, activities and events we offer.”

Volunteers are always welcome. Email volunteers@fergusfallfair.ca to get involved. There is also an opening for a junior director (age 16-23) on the fair board.

The agricultural society is involved in events throughout the year to promote awareness of agriculture. The annual general meeting is held in January, and volunteer sign-up night is in March.

May sees the launch of the fair book with an information night and in June is Breakfast on the Farm. Christmas parades take place in December.

Features of the fall fair include a silent auction to support the Ambassador Leadership Program, and shed exhibits featuring everything from poultry and field crops to the giant pumpkin competition.

There will be dog shows, farrier demonstration, sheepdog herding, an agriculture awareness area for families and coffee and treats at the Harvest Time Café in the hall.

Fair patrons are allowed to bring their pets along, as long as they are on a leash and under control, and owners clean up after them.

Admission is free on the Thursday night, with only the midway open, from 6pm to 9pm (weather permitting). Exhibits will also be received at the hall Thursday evening, from 7pm to 8:30pm.

Weekend passes cost $30, while the admission for a single day entry is $10. In addition, there is a $15 charge for the evening shows.

Daily entry for ages 13-18 is $8, and for ages 6-12 it is $4, with age 5 and under free. Parking on the grounds is $5.

Debit machines are available, and there is an ATM at the site.

Activities take place on Friday from 5pm to midnight, on Saturday from 9am to midnight and on Sunday from 8am to 5pm.

The building is open Friday from 7 to 9pm, Saturday from 9am to 9pm and Sunday from 9am to 4pm.

It will be a “chili” day at the fair on Friday with the Great Bowls of Fire Chili Cook-Off. There is no entry fee – just bring your entry pre-cooked, hot and ready to serve to the tractor pull registration area before 5pm Friday.

Fair visitors can enjoy a bowl of chili, bun and pop for $5 while watching the tractor pulls that start at 6:30pm Friday.

The mini-modified and truck pulls are on Saturday at 6pm.

There is a family pancake breakfast on the Sunday morning, starting at 8:30am. There is no set charge, but a donation of at least $5 is recommended.

Parents who would like to enter children in the Baby Show are not required to register in advance. Simply meet in the entertainment tent at 12 noon on Sunday.

4-H Clubs have a special interest in the fair, where they celebrate the skills they have learned. Achievement Days for 4-H Dairy and 4-H Beef will be held on Sept. 14 for various classes of animals, plus showmanship classes for different age groups. There is also a 4-H Poultry Show, and 4-H Clubs can also enter exhibits in the Education Display competition.