A late afternoon shower that dampened floats and left puddles along the parade route wasn’t enough to stop fairgoers from flocking to the 196th edition of the Huntingdon Fair over the weekend.
Following the parade and official opening ceremonies on August 10, crowds watched as the Godmanchester Fire Department won top honours in the annual water ball competition before gathering around the ring for the premiere presentation of Beauharnois Championship Wrestling.
“The wrestlers brought more people onto the grounds than we have ever had on a Thursday,” says Tammy Arthur, the secretary-treasurer for the Huntingdon Agricultural Society, suggesting the colourful performances by the slate of fighters was a good bet on the part of organizers.
Friday’s attendance broke records all around. The midway was full, the stands were packed for the traditional tractor pulls put on by Association Sportive de Tire de Tracteurs du Québec (ASTTQ), and country music band Ambush brought down the house. “I have never seen so many people under the tent,” says Arthur.
The grounds were teeming once again on Saturday, when a sudden downpour forced the cancellation of tractor pulls scheduled for that night. Blues rock band West DeVille started their set early, and many stayed to enjoy the show.
The rain continued overnight, but organizers awoke to sunny skies and a massive task ahead. Volunteers were on site early to scrape the top layer of mud from the demolition derby pit and to ensure the tractors and recreation vehicles stuck in the back field were safely towed out. “It was a bit of a challenge to get Sunday morning going; our board of directors pulled it together,” says Arthur, noting volunteers worked extremely hard to ensure the events and activities on Sunday could run safely. “They did an amazing job.”
Arthur says that along with a growing number of visitors each year, the fair is also attracting new exhibitors and is continuing to grow. There were 1367 exhibits entered by 160 exhibitors between the different youth and adult categories. The 4-H showmanship event included 39 head of cattle. Arthur says this is good news and suggests the fair will continue to develop thanks to the dedication of the board of directors and its many volunteers.