Fair Fever – Catch the Fun!
How the Desboro Agricultural Society manages to fit in all the activities, entertainment, competitions from cattle to baking and floral arranging, arts and crafts and grain competitions, not to mention the famous potato auction, is a tribute to the volunteers.
Friday, August 31st, was primarily a set-up and judging of exhibits day with everything else held on Saturday, the big day. With the 4-H Jr. Sheep and calf shows in the morning, the parade at noon then led into the Opening Ceremony.
The Desboro Fair harkens back to earlier time before midways came along. It focuses on country life, farming and having young people involved in a hands-on way. In his opening address, Agricultural Society President, Don Dietrich, said “There is no better place to get a taste of rural life and community than the Desboro Fall Fair with this year’s theme, ‘Fair Fever – Catch the Fun!”
Events for children included a frog jumping contest, three-legged race, sack race and for the adults an ‘outhouse race, bale toss and log sawing, all activities that bring back a former era.
Among the dignitaries in the Saturday parade were MP Larry Miller and MPP Bill Walker, who rode on a ‘manure spreader’ and there were 15 prizes to be won for entries ranging from antique tractors and cars to horse teams, storybook character costumes, most entertaining and people’s choice awards and more.
Outside, there was live entertainment with Lauren Jewell and Dylan McMullen of the duo ‘Our Shotgun Wedding’, who had toes tapping and hands clapping as they performed their unique style of ‘down-home’ music.
In the cattle ring, it was a difficult time for judges given the high calibre of cattle being shown. It finally came down to a very unusual elimination process that everyone took in stride – anyone wearing shorts was eliminated, anyone wearing running shoes or sunglasses were eliminated and, finally, it came down to a coin toss between the two remaining.
Inside the hall, it was hard to take it all in. Handcrafted items covered tables and walls, a pergola covered in plants and arrangements bombarded the senses with colour and smells, antiques laid out the history of the area and the bake table was piled high with homemade pies, decadent cakes and tarts and loaves of bread.
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As the afternoon wound down however, there was no doubt what people were there for … the POTATO Auction, as people filled the arena in anticipation. The annual auction is all about the last 4-H Potato club in Ontario where young people plant, grow and produce potatoes in a variety of types. The potatoes are then auctioned off in bushel and half-bushel baskets with each auction amount going directly to the young producer.
Scott Kuhl, auctioneer extraordinaire and daughter Grace, a recent auctioneer graduate, ran the auction with bids coming in fast and furious with baskets purchased at one, two and three hundred dollars.
At the end of the day, it was time to leave and the Sherman family clambered aboard their antique tractor.