157th Shawville Fair: 5 days of a ‘buzz in the air’

0
96

Scott Campbell

SHAWVILLE – Trailers, cars and trucks filled the streets as the sights, sounds, and smells were unique to this time of year. It was Shawville Fair at the fairgrounds, from August 29 to September 2. Where do all the people come from and why do they come here?


Scott Campbell

SHAWVILLE – Trailers, cars and trucks filled the streets as the sights, sounds, and smells were unique to this time of year. It was Shawville Fair at the fairgrounds, from August 29 to September 2. Where do all the people come from and why do they come here?
Thursday night offered up a beautiful evening for the Truck and Tractor Pull. Inside the arena the Opening Ceremonies set the stage for what the fair was celebrating: one side was decorated to the ‘100 years of 4-H in Canada’ and the other was the 100 years of the Pontiac County Women’s Institute along with the work of the directors and volunteers to the midway.
Mavis Hanna presented Lynn Lang’s family with the Pontiac Agricultural Society’s Dedicated Service Award because, “So much of her time and energy was spent on the Shawville Fair.” Eason Russell introduced Jacques Vallée of Beauce Canaval and his son, Jean-François, who cut the ribbon to declare the Fair ‘open’ as the Ag Society and the midway celebrated 19 years of business partnership.
Friday morning came on hot and humid, but overcast. Two new directors, Sophie Belland and Charleen Moore, organized the school program where about 550 students from six different local schools took part. “It’s to see the Agricultural part of the Fair and not just the rides,” said Moore. “This is the only time some of them can come to the fair.” The children learned about Alpacas, rope making, heavy horses, how to make butter, and grow vegetables. The morning finished with Dr. Pepper’s Mad Science performance.
Not far from the performance, the heavy horse classes took to the outdoor ring where the Grand and Reserve Champion of Clydesdale were awarded. Weaving into the arena the Local 4-H achievement day had members competing in the Poultry division. Youth members, Willis and Dalton Egan, donated the new    trophy.
Going into Friday evening, the weather turned and rain came hard with lighting in the sky. “It’s a risk that’s taken with any outdoor event,” said Ag Society President, Sara Knox. It did not deter the crowd, though, for the main act, Trooper. According to Knox, the Canadian rock band was pleased with the audience’s response to their performance.
That evening, the 4-H Steer Auction took place in the arena with 11 steers to bid on. Brett Mackechnie’s 3-year streak of taking Grand Champion came to an end as Meredith Closs and her steer took the top spot at 1,215 lbs and sold for $4/lb. Kyle Dufault was Reserve Grand Champion at 1,315 lbs and went for $3.25/lb.
Saturday was warm and overcast most of the time. People speculated that Friday’s rain would keep some people away, but the numbers grew throughout the day. The morning featured the usual Western Horse show, 4-H show, Heavy Horse and the Pet Show.
The 100 years of 4-H offered a special event for the anniversary that afternoon: the Alumni show with about 60 past members showing in Beef, Dairy, Sheep and Poultry (bottom photo). “Other exhibitors were quite pleased to be asked to borrow their animal for the show,” said Knox, noting that the event joined the young with the experienced.
Divisions were divided into the decade the participants were born. Bob Younge and Winnifred Pirie, born in 1939, were the oldest to be involved. The top placing finalists were: Jerry Barber, Jackie McGregor, Richard Maheu, Michael Rusenstrom (Overall Showmanship winner), Jessica Cox, Tyler McCann and Jennifer Davies.
Inside the Agricultural Awareness Tent were free face painting, Little Ray’s Reptiles, Hypnotist Fernandez, and Bunj-e the Clown for a variety of entertainment throughout the 5 days. Little Players, who could be found on the Children’s Stage, actually made their debut at the Calgary Stampede. The evening ended with popular band Ambush and main act, Dallas Smith.
The clouds parted and the sun shone brightly for Sunday. The morning held a small but new addition for the fair, a Sheep Show, with entrants from Cobden, Renfrew and local 4-H’er, Reese Rusenstrom showed her lamb. Afternoon visitors outside the cattle barns could take in a milking demonstration.
Members of the Pontiac School of Arts were busy creating over the weekend with the artwork given back to the Fair as a gift. Throughout the day there were also the Horse Pull, Mini Chuckwagon, and Zucchini Races to watch, and the Arnprior McNab Pipes & Drums to listen to.
The exhibits in the Handicraft Building – from baking, woodworking, quilts, wine, beer, and photography – had plenty of viewers. According to Heather Rusenstrom, the organizing of the building is an operation in itself as 40 volunteers work there on Thursday prior to opening in the afternoon. “The judges are all professional in their divisions and have no idea who the exhibitors are until the awarding is completed,” she said. Lynn Lang’s presence continued to be felt here also as a new memorial trophy was offered. Exhibitors accumulated place points and those having the most in quilts and handicrafts were awarded.
In the outside arena, the Pontiac Fireman’s Challenge took over Sunday afternoon for the first time in their 16th edition.
Teams of four put on full gear and competed against the clock in an obstacle course, from hose work, tire work and slipping through a wall. Shawville / Clarendon Fire Department Team #2 of Jason Wilson, Tim O’Malley, Alex Brown and Ryan Currie defended their 2012 title and came out on top with a time of 3:43.
That evening, an electrical problem delayed the main act, Kix Brooks, for nearly an hour, after which the music outside and inside the beer tent went well into the night.
Monday’s classic car show included a 1969 General Lee and a ‘Betty Boop’ Mustang. That afternoon, the Fair finished with a bang, so to speak, with the Demolition Derby. Ag Society director, Danny Lalonde of Lalonde Towing and Storage, offered a small twist to the proceeding by donating two cars. Tickets were purchased and the winners (with a driver’s license) were invited to compete in the derby, registration free.
It was estimated that 30,000 people came through the gates over the Fair weekend, down from the last couple years, but according to Knox, it was still a successful fair. “If it had rained everyday then we would have been in trouble,” she chuckled, adding that the board of directors were happy with how the fair turned out.
To answer the initial question: Where do all the people come from and why do they come here? In a sampling of about 75 fairgoers, it was found they came from all parts of the MRC Pontiac, Municipality of Pontiac, greater Gatineau, greater Ottawa, and from as far as New Brunswick.
What brought them here? Food, horse shows, whole package, volunteer work, community, derby, tradition, fun, affordable, people-watch, family, music, friends, animals, quilts, horse pull, exhibits, midway, dairy show, truck pull, cattle, and – one of the best reasons – first time.