The 2012 growing season hasn’t been easy for our local farmers.
Early spring’s unusually warm weather, coupled with a cold snap in March, left many local farmers with devastated crops. Most Ontario growers lost more than 90 per cent of their expected yield, and southern Ontario farmers alone were hit with more than $100 million in lost apples and tender fruits like peaches, cherries, pears, plums and nectarines.
As summer fades and the harvest season comes upon us, that loss is going to become more apparent.
For all our farmers do for the community, it’s time to get out and show them some support.
And what better way to do that than to visit the 154th annual Paris Fair, which kicked off on Wednesday and runs every day at the Paris Fairgrounds until Monday.
The Paris Fair was built on agriculture and this year more than ever, organizers want people to come out and show their support for this important local industry.
“It’s going to be kind of a challenging year for our rural community because of the weather,” said Paris Fairgrounds general manager Russell Press. “I think if people want to come out and show some support to our local farmers who are always at the fair, despite the hardships, it would be really cool.
“Come out and see what the farmers have to offer in this difficult year and thank them because we can’t eat without them.
“The fair is all about celebrating the agricultural way of life and this year we need to do that a little bit extra.”
Some 400 committee members and volunteers have been working hard over the last year to make this Paris Fair stand out as one of the best. The 2012 fair features an expanded midway, six stages, more than 100 performers and 12,000 exhibits.
Over the last few weeks, Brant News has highlighted some of the major fair attractions that people can look forward to, including big shows like tribute act ABBAMania on Friday, Thursday night’s Battle of the Champions Monster Truck and FMX show, and the 7,200 square-foot Wild World Experience.
In this week’s Entertainment section, read about the two Canadian Country nights featuring Deric Ruttan and Chad Brownlee on Friday and Emerson Drive on Sunday.
With some of Canadian country music’s biggest stars on the lineup, the fair is destined to be a not-to-miss event.
Brownlee, a relative newcomer to the country music scene, promises high energy from his Friday night performance.
“We like to engage the audience and have them sing along and just feed off each other’s energy. It’s a two-way street. It’s just finding that connection and making sure everybody is having a good time,” he said.
The fair will also offer a free shuttle bus service leaving from the Lynden Park Mall, Sanderson Centre and Wal Mart at various times throughout the weekend.
But on top of all the new excitement, the fair brings back some of the same old favourites that have made it a treasured event for residents of Brant and surrounding areas over the last 154 years. (That’s 20 years longer than Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition.)
The annual event draws in more than 80,000 people to the area each year to check out and compete in more than 12,000 exhibitions displaying everything from photography to baked goods, horseback riding and quilt shows.
There are also plenty of family events including tractor pulls, magic shows, pet shows and more.
With lots to see and do at this year’s Paris Fair, this weekend is a great way to get out, support our farmers and just have fun as we say goodbye to summer and kick off the harvest season.