In 165 years, a rich history in Bayfield has been established by the Bayfield Agricultural Society in this great community. Whether you were born and raised in the area or have moved here later in life, you will likely have encountered activities hosted and supported by the Bayfield Agricultural Society. Among them in the past include the annual agricultural fair, annual wreath fundraiser at Christmas in Bayfield, local Breakfast on the Farm events, and the RCMP Musical Ride in the past.
Agricultural Societies plan and host annual agricultural fairs, among the other events, as well as promote/develop an awareness of agriculture whether it is the production, manufacturing and/or consumption side of things. In some cases, they also are guardians of Agricultural Parks in their communities. In Bayfield we are proudly the guardian of over seven (7) acres inside our beautiful town, that we share with the community for sports and recreational purposes.
Having navigated a challenging past two years in hosting our annual fair we are now turning the page and focusing on our future. As with many local organizations we in Bayfield are having a major turnover in our Board this year with the retirement of several of our over 80-year-old Directors and are looking at replacements who ensure the continuance of the fair, which is a family-oriented event in Bayfield attracting between 2500 – 3000 people over the third weekend in August. The organization is fiscally strong with the completion of a new $100 000 storage facility/office in 2019 and looking at its next infrastructure project for next year.
Right now, we are looking for 5 Directors, the Agricultural Society is not a governance board; it is a working board and so Directors do their share in the workload that is involved, along with committee leaders focusing on the many components that create the annual fair experience. In fact, experience has shown those busiest in day-to-day life are motivated to bring their skills to the table and can often accomplish great things without being over burdened by time commitments. Crucially, it is a society that doesn’t sit still in time and repeat the same events continuously rather it looks for ideas and new direction to keep it self-relevant and engaged with the community in its offerings.
We encourage people to consider becoming a Director to help drive the evolution of fairs into the future but also craft the message about agriculture that needs to be delivered to the fairgoers through the fair experience. Not only is it a leadership opportunity which is supported through the OAAS (Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies) annual Convention which attracts over 1000 people but a rewarding experience as well. Many find the networking and workshops and new friends they meet at the local Board level, the District level, and the provincial Convention a valuable support for their work as a Director.
For me, Jentje Steenbeek as a Past-President, I joined the organization in the fall of 2012 and have grown to appreciate the strengths and opportunities it has in serving the community. Bringing my own background growing up on a dairy farm not far from Bayfield gave me lots of insight into how agriculture is progressive and modernizing to meet the current expectations and needs of the consuming public for all types of agricultural products, and how to integrate it with an event that is interactive and serves the educational objectives we carry as the Agricultural Society for families of all ages through a diverse set of events at our annual fair. The society also endorsed my concept of bringing to the community a locally focused version of the Breakfast on the Farm event, that allowed crowds of over 1000 people to look behind the ‘barn door’ and see the innovation and progress made in the industry over the years. This shouldn’t limit the imagination though, as we have had large music events featuring David Wilcox, but could even extend into tractor pulls or local demolition derby events for family entertainment. In my time I have served in leadership roles locally as President and have even been elected as a District director for Huron-Perth. The chances to contribute locally and on a large scale are without limits and is rewarding along the journey, I invite you along with our dedicated Directors, to join me on this journey.
To learn more about the roles and areas where you may able to constructively contribute please get a hold of the Bayfield Agricultural Society at firstname.lastname@example.org or speak with a current director.