The 161st Bayfield Fair is now part of the memory banks of many people from near and far. Several new folks to the fair found the fair has retained the traditions that their image of “fair” has. Many like the opportunities to see the animals from the large heavy horses to the small chicks. Others are attracted to the new competitions or entertainment that is offered each year. The truly amazing fact is it is all organized by volunteers who want to see this annual event be a highlight for the community every summer.
The highlights for me this year are: Irene Okahashi being absolutely shocked being given the President’s Award for being a long term vendor at the Bayfield Fair. She has been a vendor, exhibitor, and ticket seller for a long time and what is quite amazing is the fact that the money for anything she sells goes to Crime Stoppers. She proudly had her ribbon pinned at the front of her booth.
The three dignitaries were great sports about the competition they faced at the Opening. What was inspiring is they were encouraging each other and helping one another with suggestions.
The fireworks were great but when speaking with Michael who set off the spectacle, it was strange to be doing it with the sign saying “No Smoking” just behind him and with several fire department members nearby.
It was a proud moment to see so many flags that the Ag Society gave out at the beginning of the parade being waved as the parade wound its way through the heart of the village. The families lining the route were definitely patriotic and enthusiastic.
The quilt car was a unique combination of blanket and vehicle and as the owner said she can always keep warm. Many stares were observed when it slowly drove by.
The dunk tank proved to be a centre of a lot of excitement with children dunking their parents and the public dunking a police officer, or mayor, or fire department member, or radio celebrity. Everyone was a great sport and got into the role of challenging each person throwing the ball.
A lot of skill had been noticed for the drivers of the Friesian horses as they drove through the obstacle course. They were brought from a trot to walk to fast pace as they manoeuvered though the various sections of the course.
Who thought watching pigs run for a drink of milk could be so entertaining and exciting. The cheering and pig calling all combined to make many a smile to a large crowd. The winner in addition to bragging rights, which went well into the night hours, got to also provide a charity with a donation. People became very attached to their pig and there is rumour that possibly a few of the pigs had their feelings hurt with some of the names provided.
Exploding watermelons are hard to describe until you experience it. Many of the participants in the watermelon competition ended up with blisters and aching muscles as they put repeated layers of elastic bands on a watermelon. The melons did not disappoint as they took their time but they did explode.
A visual highlight was seeing one busker walking around on stilts and being so tall he was looking down at the folks who were in the cab of the modern tractor.
A special highlight was checking the statistics of the number of entries on all the exhibits in the arena. Except in two sections there were increased entries. The handcraft section has the most with over 300 entries.
My final highlight was seeing the number of young people carrying stuffed toys away after having a great time at the midway. They were leaving with a souvenir of a happy experience and that is what a fair should provide.
Reports are already written and being written about suggestions for next year and the Ag Society welcomes input by asking you to fill in a questionnaire online on the website www.bayfieldfair.ca . Volunteers are always welcome and an invitation to come to the after-fair meeting is extended for September 11 at 7 p.m. in the basement of St Andrews United Church. Thanks for making the 161st fair great.