by PETER GAUTHIER
by PETER GAUTHIER
This year’s Shawville Fair will run from Thursday, August 31 to Monday, September 4, 2017. For many Pontiacers and visitors, this will be a time of fun and entertainment. There will be midway rides, live performances by internationally recognized stars, food and lots of entertaining activities. But there is another very important feature of the fair – education. The fair presents a unique opportunity to learn about agricultural and craft products originating in our area – an opportunity that should not be overlooked amid all the noise of the mid-way and music from the big stage.
The Shawville Fair is a great place to see the crafts, produce and animal
husbandry of the Pontiac; those responsible for the exhibits and the people who participate in the many competitions certainly display their abilities and learning with pride. But what about the visitors – the thousands who will come for entertainment, fun and enjoyment?
The original idea behind an agricultural fair included the opportunity for education. Farmers could compare crop and animal varieties suitable for the region. They could also see demonstrations of new equipment and compare prices and operating requirements. But, just as important, town and city folks could experience the variety of products produced locally. Craft and produce displays would educate these non-farming people about possibilities available locally. The high quality and expertise of
animal husbandry and local goods were proven by the ribbons won and displayed.
And so it should be for this year’s fair. At a time when many urbanites’ only knowledge of agriculture is that they get their food at the grocery store, the fair can be a place and opportunity to educate themselves about the agricultural dimensions of our society.
Start with a program of daily events. Visit the Agricultural Awareness Tent, the Dairy and Beef Barns, take in some of the judging. Walk through the farm machinery, horticultural and homecraft displays. Talk with the 4-H youth about their participation in the different events. Accompany children on a visit to the petting zoo. Become aware of the local goods available. Most importantly, use the fair as an opportunity to learn more about key economic and social activities of the Pontiac.
We live in a culture where it is easy to isolate one self from the wider world and the sources of much of our nourishment. The Shawville Fair offers an opportunity for visitors to broaden their knowledge beyond the city limits. We can come into contact with a vital, often hidden, element in our lives.
So enjoy the food, games and entertainment, but do not miss the opportunity to learn something new, something about rural life in the Pontiac.