The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Bayfield Agricultural Society (BAS) was held in the basement of St. Andrew’s United Church on Friday, Nov. 24.

Following a meal and presentation on Junior Farmers by Jeanette Schramm, the business of the Annual Meeting proceeded.  AGMs are held so that members can learn about what an organization has accomplished, approve the financial statement and proposed budget, and appoint people to committees and positions of leadership.  The BAS used the event to also acknowledge and present awards to individuals and organizations that have provided years of support.

This year the OAAS (Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies) Accomplishment award was presented to the Hensall Co-op for its longstanding commitment to providing financial support to the heavy horse section and at times the Friday night meal.  The Co-op provided beans for some of the meals and as samples to help educate fairgoers on types of beans.  Jerry Groot accepted the award from BAS President Vicky Culbert and stated that the Co-op wanted to ensure agricultural activities like the fair remain active.

The second Accomplishment Award was presented to Don McIllwain, owner of the Bayfield Garage.  McIllwain has provided vehicles to pull the children’s train at the fair.  He has on countless times at the last moment repaired things that broke down in the fairgrounds.  He has regularly financially supported the heavy horse show and has provided a location for various signs over the years.  It was pointed out that it is his business that often answers visitors’ questions about the fair and what happens at the fair.  He said that he has been a strong supporter because he wants to see the fair continue providing entertainment for the community.

The final Accomplishment Award went to Bev VanNinhys.  She has always been in the background of the Homecraft section helping with the handcrafts – either setting up, monitoring so nothing is damaged, or helping when things are being picked up.  She has been a fixture for over 35 years.  She always attended the AGM and had done it virtually the last few years.  Unfortunately technology failed her this year and it was the first time she missed the AGM and her certificate had to be delivered by hand following the meeting.

The last award given out was the OAAS Meritorious Award, which is presented to someone, who without them, the Society would be lost.  The award was presented to Ted VanderWouden.  He was president for six years.  He was always finding efficiencies in how the fair should be set up.  He started the use of a tractor getting things from the barn to the arena; he created an alternative to the old tables that needed legs attached; and he encouraged the use of shelving that could display the exhibits better.  He allowed use of his greenhouse for the making of wreaths and also for the occasional meeting.  He was always a very quiet leader who had the full respect of the Board and members.  In accepting his award, his humour was certainly evident in providing his reason for being president for so long but he said he enjoyed the work and met wonderful people throughout the years.

At the AGM Vicky Culbert was acknowledged for the work she put into her term as president.  Doug Yeo was selected as the incoming president.

Several new people have stepped forward in the last few weeks to fill several positions but additional volunteers are needed.  For those who want to see an active fair and want to see their section of the fair as a strong part of the fair experience, contact For someone who likes to keep things organized and can take minutes, the position of Secretary is now open.

The hour long meeting concluded but people lingered joining in conversations throughout the room.  Meeting old and new friends, sharing stories, and testing new ideas for the fair are all features of being part of an Agricultural Society community.


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