Memories are all that remain of the 159th Bayfield Fair held on August 14-16 with its theme “Blue Jeans and Machines”. Increased crowds with many more children entered the grounds of the fair during the three days and warm weather greeted everyone.
The opening with Art Bennett acknowledged the 100 year history of 4-H in Ontario on Friday evening. Richard Fitoussi judged the Ribs Cook off this year and declared The Docks as the overall winner. Second place went to the Ashwood Inn and third place ribbon went to the Albion. Many people took part in the golf cart challenge with only one blindfolded driver going off course into the fence. Their able sighted partner must have been misunderstood in their instructions as to where to drive. A steady stream of people took part in the ax and knife throwing and they admired the accuracy of the members who brought the equipment as a demonstration.
The parade had many machines this year from antique tractors to decorated bikes.
The Bayfield Agricultural Society President, Jentje Steenbeek, Homecraft President, Jean Dunn, and Seaforth Ambassador, Amber Brodie, enjoyed their luxurious drive along the parade route in a 1952 Packard. There were many white-dressed 4-H exhibitors presenting their skills with their dairy calves or sheep. They keep the 100 year tradition active and alive.
Visitors heard the Commissioners Own Pipes & Drums and the Clinton Pipe Band play following the parade in the fairgrounds. They were entertained by Dick Joiner, a magician, who had the big tent almost filled with spectators. The dog agility show drew people out of the tent to watch several energetic dogs perform. Racing through the obstacle course was a crowd favourite. The dunk tank gathered an enthusiastic following thanks to the volunteering of Reeve Tyler Hessel, radio personality Fadi Didi, and Councillor Bill Whetstone. The three men were good sports about encouraging the markmanship of those willing to try to unseat them as they sat above a tank of cold water.
The exhibits filled the arena. The handcraft section had certainly an increase in exhibits. Quilts and
Items filled the tables and display behind. There were some exceptional pieces of art shown with sketches being the main art form. Creativity was evident in the children’s work and the woodworking sections. Preserving local food seems to be alive and well if the culinary arts section is any reflection as to what is happening in the area. The Pet Display building was a hive of interest for all ages all days of the fair. Wood carving greeted people at the gates and proved creativity even when carving was done with a chainsaw. In the evening fairgoers had the opportunity to hear the folk styled songs of “Trent Severn” or experience the excellent instrumental skills of “The Sadies.”
On Sunday a community church service was held to give thanks and support a regional organization –the Queen’s Bush Ministry. Parking was a premium for the horse shows. Trailers had to be parked along John Avenue since there was not enough room on the grounds. Miniature horses, heavy horses and Friesians entertained and tried to capture a judge’s attention.
The largest midway in a long time provided rides for not just the children. It was reported that several adults liked the rides as well. The midway was a real spectacle during the evening hours with all its coloured lights.
All who attended the fair take with them their own personal memory of the events. The Directors like to have feedback on what went well, needed to be improved, or things to consider next year. They have provided a way to get input by having people go to the fair website, click on “About the Fair” and fill in the form under Feedback.