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September sun sets on successful Picton fair

By Olivia Timm
Following two years of drive-through fairs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some 7,500 people poured through the gates at the Picton fairgrounds over the weekend.

This year’s theme was ‘Then and Now’ – an ode to the traditional aspects many have come to expect and enjoy, along with new attractions.

Two well-attended new aspects were the skateboarding competition and arm wrestling competition, which both drew crowds of participants. The Picton Armwrestling Club received 181 entries from all ages to take a turn at the stage.

Since 1836, the Picton Fair has been presented by the Prince Edward Agricultural Society – minus the war years.

Larry Everall, fair board president, described the attendance this year as “incredible.”

“We are really happy to be back. We did the drive-through fairs two years in a row. We had a choice of either doing nothing or doing them,” he said. “The support we had was incredible. The money from those two years either went to the local hospital or the local food banks. The fair board didn’t take any contribution from those two events because we wanted to support our community.”

“The initial objective when the Agricultural Society was formed was to promote agriculture, and it still is. We wanted to show that what was older is new again.”

Everall will be retiring from his position after 10 years. Susan Harrington, first vice-president, said she is thrilled to move into the position of president in the year to follow.

Everall and Harrington commended the hard work of board members and volunteers who work together to put on the fair year after year.

Susan Harrington, first-vice president with Lana Latchford, who is retiring as co-ordinator of the baby show after 42 years, with Tina Hiddink, secretary-treasurer and Larry Everall, president.

“When it comes to the community – it is your fair, we host it,” Everall said. “We have been working with different service clubs, and have more volunteers and more people coming, so it’s new for everybody. We re-adjusted several things this year and doubled the parking on the grounds Saturday.”

Beekeepers and local wineries joined in for the first time this year, with a dedicated aisle in the arena to promote their work, including live honey extractions among other demonstrations. The LeHigh Cement Company, he noted, revitalized the art show this year.

The midway was up 50 per cent this year in attendance, he added, featuring a few new rides. A new ride, the Alien Invasion, had a steady stream of eager children and adults alike, ready to take a turn, while others ventured onto the classics like the merry-go-round, the Scrambler or the Drop Zone.

While families and friends perused the lights and attractions on the midway, their cheers paired with the live music spilling from the Crystal Palace and could be heard through downtown Picton.

Firefighter Jake Holmes observes Travis Connor performing at this year’s demolition derby.

The fair also offered face painting and tattoos, bingo, a lawn-tractor and tractor pull, demolition derby and of course, the classic fast-food offerings complete with lemonade and mini donuts.

To commemorate its rich agricultural history, many riders and horses attended this year, and folks toured the grounds to enjoy the 4H Club calf, sheep and goat shows.

Inside the arena, folks wandered through exhibits including photography, adult colouring book entries, arts and crafts, embroidery, quilting, wood-working and more, plus flowers and produce. Though the giant pumpkin weigh-off didn’t take place, there was still much to explore this year.

The Curling Club was the spot to be Saturday as the smallest and largest pups were in attendance for their turn in the spotlight.

At left, Judy Young with her dog, Molly, won first place for Best Dog and Owner Dressed in Theme as The Pink Ladies. At right, Lesley with pup, Huxley, after winning first place for Most Unique Dog at the annual dog show.

A sweet job for the bake-off volunteer judges Jen McKay, Ken Menlove and Barbara-McConnell.

The annual Bake Off broke records raising $6,832 this year for the Prince Edward Memorial Hospital Foundation. With a delicious array of cakes, pies, and more, the best overall coconut cream Pie went for a whopping $1,000. Susan Harrington, who has run the Bake Off for 13 years, said the auction has raised more than $20,000 in total for the hospital foundation.

The Crystal Palace was bustling with live entertainment the whole weekend, with Nicholas Campbell and The 2 Metre Cheaters and The Reasons performing Friday night, Bentwood Rocker and Rock and Roll Never Forgets Bob Seger Tribute Band taking the stage Saturday night, and Steve Piticco and Friends performing a gospel show Sunday morning.

Fairs continue in the County with Milford’s Saturday, Sept. 17 and Ameliasburgh’s Saturday, Sept. 24.

Troy Eaton, Dustin Desormeaux, Chris Armstrong, Jeff Cozer, Jody Pringle, Bob Shanahan and Joe Gould at the Picton Arm Wresting Club event.

Chris Armstrong, Brade McKee, Asher Armstrong and Troy Eaton, ready to wrestle.

Mike Branscombe, Jason Young and Elmer Bentley from the Prince Edward Fire and Rescue, spoke to residents and provided fire safety treasures for children.

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