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Milford honours community and rural roots at this year’s fair

It was hot as blazes for merriment at Milford’s Fall Fair but during this year’s ‘celebration of rural roots’, it was taken in stride – with plenty of water, coveted shady spots and gentle breezes.

“I think it’s rained maybe three times on the Milford Fair over the past 72 years,” said Bruce Dowdell, long-time volunteer. Once, appropriately, on the year honouring farmers. “We sure like the sunshine here but I have to admit today’s heat is something else.”

The shady spot with a few gentle breezes was the ideal location to watch Grandpa’s Goodtime Gang perform.

A goodly crowd found some relief from the midday sun by sitting under a tent to enjoy music from Grandpa’s Goodtime Gang and to watch the presentation of this year’s Murray Clapp Memorial Citizenship Awards.

Glendon Walker, Leona Head and Joyce Minaker presented Murray Clapp Citizenship Awards to Peter and Alice Mennacher, Dorothy Spiers Vincent, Andrew Shantz and Robert Ward. Wilber Miller was also named a recipient this year.

Recipients this year were Andrew Shantz, Robert Ward, Dorothy Spiers Vincent, Peter and Alice Mennacher and Wilber Miller.

While the fair honours a group of citizens each year, it is continued participation by many people over many years that makes it special.

“There is such a unique community feel to this fair,” said Valencia Logan, this year’s fair board president. “I’m not sure most other fairs can capture it the same way. It’s done by a small community and lots of other people who help. Even people living away make a plan to come back for the Milford Fair.”

Making it cost-effective is also key, said Logan.

“The kids get in free of charge and once they get on the grounds there are so many things they can do and not pay a cent – various races, pumpkin decorating, games, build a birdhouse. We at the fair board really love to have fun – for free.”

But it’s not only the children who get excited about the fair.

Vernice and Leon McConnell with granddaugther Laurie Jeffery’s flower display incorporating family history

Vernice and Leon McConnell were thrilled to discover their granddaughter Laurie Jeffery had won a first place ribbon for her flower display.

“These are her mother’s shoes and her great great grandfather’s baby shoes in the display,” said Vernice who noted Laurie was busy volunteering in the food booth and at the bingo.

Leon McConnell with “An Old Man’s Treasure”

Wellington’s Hailey MacDonald brought home fourth place, confidence and an experience of a lifetime after participating in the Miss Teen Canada Globe pageant show in Toronto this summer. She will be travelling to the Dominican Republic in April to represent Canada in the Miss Teen Petite Beauty International Pageant.

Leon also won a first-place ribbon for “An Old Man’s Treasure” display he created, also incorporating personal history.

“It just so happens that that’s the watch I learned to tell time on,” Leon said, pointing to a display of three antique watches and photographs showing his grandfather, great-great-great uncle and great-great grandmother.”

Leon attended primary school at Athol SS#6 on the Point Petre Road – incorporating all eight grades taught by one teacher in one room.

Leon recalls being a nervous five-year-old who was summoned to meet a ‘very tall, old man’ with a white t-bar moustache.

It was his great, great uncle Henry, 91, who wanted Leon to have a keepsake – a gift to the youngest McConnell boy living at that time. Leon was presented Henry’s pocket watch.

“The casing is silver and has eight stars on it, indicating the number of States that were united at the time the watch was made,” said Leon. He said Henry was a sailor on the Great Lakes and likely bought the watch on one of his trips.

Leon, now in his 70s, says the watch is valuable, but even more so for its memories.

The shed comes alive with arts, crafts, photography, food and flowers during the Milford Fair.

Fair Board President Valencia Logan and secretary Dorothy Spiers Vincent show the Bicentennial Quilt 1984 that Owen and Colleen Miller received as a wedding gift and allowed it to be on display at the fair.

History is also the focus of the Bicentennial Quilt on display at the fair. Put together by the Milford Friendship Circle, it depicts the history of the community. In the centre is a South Marysburgh logo. The British flag speaks to ancestry, the sheaf of wheat to farming and the anchor symbolizes the fishing industry.

“This year’s fair is a celebration of our rural roots,” said Logan. “You can see it everywhere.”

Elizabeth Crombie and her grandson Will Bosik were among volunteers keeping the lines moving at the canteen as water and fresh-baked pie slices were in high demand.

Aeron Boisvert, Shaelyn Whaley and Sarah MacDonald perform the sword dance – a celebration of winning a battle. They are members of the Astounding Heights Dance Academy in Trenton.

Pieter DeBoer helps Correyann and Jade Flanigan to put seed into the birdfeeders he helped them create at the fairgrounds.

Bruce Dowdell hams it up with Mendy Berkson who built the car prop to promote the Marysburgh Mummers’ performance of Grease this year.

A closer look at ‘Movie Night at the Regent’

Crowds enjoyed the student art displays.

Great books and bargains at the PEC Public Library booth

Children place tickets in lucky draw buckets for a variety of prizes

Team Fraser waving their way along the parade route to the Milford Fairgrounds.

One of several older vehicles on parade through Milford.

Carriage rides were provided along the route past the fairgrounds.

A parade in the County isn’t complete without the Prince Edward County Fire Department truck.

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