Planning for a replacement of the Farm Animal Display building in Agricultural Park has been a project of the Bayfield Agricultural Society for over a year and a half. This building to replace the former Pet Display (old MacDonald’s farm) Building will be identical in size with a dry storage (15×20’) attachment. This additional space will accommodate a secure office location for the days of the fair and storage the remainder of the year.
The Ag Society is seeking the community’s support to assist with the funding of the $85 000 project. Since last week there is less than $20 000 to raise. This past week one non-resident donor said three generations of his family have attended the fair and he wanted to contribute. His family has appreciated the efforts the Society has made over the years to organize the fair and all the activities involved. Another donor challenged others to donate and he would match donations up to $2500. The Society is beginning to realize the generosity of the community when it has needed assistance. This past week was quite spectacular when the first Rafter sponsor approached us. If families are wanting to have their names recognized on our donor wall, this week would be good to call 482 9296 for information even if they want to make the donation at some point in 2019.
A brick wall will recognize our generous supporters:
Rafter sponsors $10 000 and greater Quoin and interior sign
Beam sponsors $5 000 – $9 999 12”x12” brick
Frame sponsors $2 000 – $4 999 8”x8” brick
Wall sheeting sponsors $500 – $1 999 6”x6” or 4”x8” brick
Floor board sponsors $100 – $499 included on a plaque
Donations can be made by cheques made out to the Bayfield Agricultural Society and mailed to our treasurer, Jim Erwin, Box 236, Bayfield. In addition arrangements have been made to handle donations of stocks or bonds. All sponsor level donations will receive a charitable receipt for income tax purposes. Donations may be made to honour the memory of someone also. If further information is required, call Doug at 519 482 9296.
One Director who had a major attachment and connection to the former Pet Display Building is Doreen MacKenzie. She submitted the following hand written narrative about the building:
The Saga of the Petting Zoo
The petting zoo building was originally the “Poultry Building” and each year it rang with crows and quacks and honking. The variety of bird species displayed were polished and groomed to a high shine and were a delight to behold. When the number of entries diminished, Mr. Pepper was contracted to bring his collection of show birds, and they too were beautiful. After Mr. Pepper retired (or died) we would put one or two animals in the building for the children to look at. Tom Penhale would bring his sister, Eleanor’s, donkeys and there might be a calf or a pig as well.
When we decided to “get serious” about the “Petting Zoo”, we had Jim Koene and his crew retrofit the building. They made proper box stalls with gates in front and they redesigned the old food display cupboards with chicken wire between the sections and wire in the front doors. These had been painted white and were quite tidy looking. The cement floor could be swept clean and added to its use for small animals. We contacted people with animals; a lady who displayed llamas, a girl with rabbits, and at one time the owners of emus!
At this time one of our most enthusiastic directors was Carol Rome McArthur who made sure that her son at the “Pleasant Pheasant” brought animals to the pet display. One was a beautiful three-quarter size pony who was given the stall at the window and would neigh his critical comments to the horses going by in the parade. He won people’s choice by a landslide vote!! Another was a veal calf named FREEZER that we immediately renamed “FRAZER!” A trio of goats also arrived from the “Pleasant Pheasant” to help fill the stalls.
At that time we contracted for a pony ride which consisted of four ponies that were fastened to a ring and travelled round and round. At night these ponies came into the pet display building much to the ire of Eeyore, the donkey, who would stand up on his hind legs and bray.
One year a mother donkey and her baby were part of the display. This baby was a complete favourite of young and old. One gentleman sat patting him all evening, and when it was time to close, his wife said, “just turn off the lights and shut the doors, -I’ll come and get him in the morning.” Then she turned and left followed by the bemused husband!
The baby had another moment of fame when it was time for him to go home. The owner led the mother out of the barn and said that the baby would follow. “I don’t think so” thought the young rascal and cantered smartly toward the show ring. We all formed a circle around the little fellow and closed in. When he returned to his mother, the owner tucked him under his arm and carried him to the truck. End of argument!!
The comments from Doreen do not include the fact that the large picture depicting Old MacDonald’s Farm was painted by her. Another very unique feature of the old building is the locking mechanism that Tom Penhale devised. No one could ever figure out how it worked until you were shown the first time. By next year the new building will begin the process of generating new stories.