By Jerelyn Craden
Like the Energizer Bunny, nothing can stop the Wilberforce Agricultural Fair – it just keeps going and going. Even last year, when the pandemic kept its physical gates closed, its six committed board members and volunteers opened the fair’s gates virtually, with more than 3,000 people attending online.
Now in its 39th year, the Fair is loaded with fun memory-making activities, events and competitions for the whole family starting Friday evening, Aug. 5 and all-day Saturday, Aug. 6 at the Wilberforce municipal park.
“We’re excited to be back live this year and happy to be bringing all of our exhibits and entertainment to the community again,” Joanne Vanier, Fair director/treasurer said.
Michele Little, Fair director added, “It’s great fun! About 30 volunteers run activities at different locations and help put up the tents. They are invaluable.”
Friday night’s main event is the exciting pony pull, with ball hockey, a petting zoo, and pony rides rounding out the evening.
On Saturday, music goes all day. In the morning, Appalachian Celtic’s four-member band, (the Fair’s addition), takes the stage with fiddle, guitar, electric bag pipes, mandolin, banjo, whistle, and vocals. In the afternoon, Gord Kidd & Friends, the Fair’s headline entertainment for many years, performs many popular favourites.
And, like all great homespun fairs, this event holds competitions such as home craft, culinary arts (baking and canning), horticulture, garden produce and flowers, arts and crafts, photography, knitting, sewing, crocheting, and more. Winners receive ribbons and prize money.
“Anyone can participate,” Vanier said. “People prepare their entries ahead of time and bring them either Thursday evening or Friday morning before noon. Then they are judged and set out for display on Friday evening when we open to the public.”
“New this year,” Vanier said, “the Wilberforce fire department hosts kids’ activities complete with little people size bunker gear – coats, backpacks, helmets, etc. There’s also balloons and magic with Pockets the Clown.” Vanier added children will have the opportunity to participate in the sail boat races with scaled down boats.
Kids World, sponsored by the Haliburton and District Lions Club offers face painting, arts and crafts, temporary tattoos and hair dye, and more.
Game Zone offers big versions of Jenga, Kerplunk and Snakes and Ladders.
Ever-popular is the pedal tractor pull for children 12 and under.
The Fair’s famous Penny Raffle and sweet auction are event pleasers. And, the Rhythmania drum circle with Barry “Bazza” Hayward is great family fair.
“Most popular with adults,” Vanier said, “is the horse draw. Plus, this year Wilberforce fire department is doing barbecue and corn on the cob, and Kawartha Dairy will bring their scoop truck.”
What makes the fair special to Vanier is the history, friendships and acquaintances she has made over the years.
“And seeing the new families coming up and all the children having so much fun,” she said.
Admission is free Friday night, compliments of the Wilberforce Legion Branch 624 and Wilberforce Multicare Pharmacy. On Saturday, kids under 18 are free. Adults, $7.
For all events and information go to: www.wilberforcefair.com.