From baby show to demolition derby, county exhibition delivers
While the cool weekend weather provided a harsh reminder of fall, the lack of weather-related interruptions gave visitors to the 183rd Picton Fair opportunity to see a plentiful exhibition across the grounds over a three-day period.
In the Crystal Palace, Friday, the Main Stop baby show featured a bumper crop this year as organizer Lana Latchford was busy taking last-minute entries. In total, 48 babies took the stage. Ultimately, a pair of 7-12-month olds stole the show. Not afraid to reach out to touch one another during the final round of judging Tyler Jeffery Mulder and Iyla Grace Anne Stefankiewicz placed first and second respectively.
“That’s his girlfriend,” Mulder’s mom Suzi Hoogkamer joked, adding the two babies and their parents had already met at a baby group. A newer county resident Hoogmaker couldn’t resist entering this year’s show. “We were pretty excited to put him in the baby show, it’s a county tradition,” she said. “He’s a pretty happy baby overall, he loves the attention from everyone.”
The Crystal Palace would remain a focal point throughout the weekend, hosting popular favourites like The Reasons, the Saturday night wrestling show, and a new act this year, the Silver Starlets — Glory Dearling and Molly Keczan — who offered a well-received mix of acrobatic achievements and light-hearted fun.
In the adjoining Bluebird building, visitors could take in no fewer than 400 children’s arts and crafts entries before being captivated by the sights and smells of the midway that beckoned. Throughout the buildings this year, there was a strong sense of participation visible in bountiful displays of vegetables and flowers, cooking, and crafts. Meanwhile, the fair continued to hold true to its agricultural roots with a full slate of animal shows in front of the grandstand, at the cattle barn and Ed’s Place hut for birds and a petting zoo.
That tradition is important to Carolyn Darling, a visiting Northumberland 4-H member who happened to show the supreme grand champion female beef cow this year.
“I like to promote agriculture to people who don’t know anything about agriculture,” she said. “I like people asking ‘What do you do?’ and not just saying, ‘Those are really big cows.’ It’s giving awareness to people.”
Darling, who showed five cows in Picton, said she tours around to different fairs in the area leading up to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto and Picton has always been a favourite to attend.
“We always love coming to Picton,” she said. “The buildings are second to none and so are the people.”
To raise and show winning cows, Darling said it takes easily three hours a day to wash, brush, and feed them.
“There’s a lot of time commitment ot make them look the best they can,” she said.
That said, Darling felt it was worth the time as her work gave her a 1,400-lb best friend. As Darling and her peers were completing their show, other entrants were doing their thing too. Some horse aficionados rode their animals in barrel races and competitions. Others, like 6-year-old Ben Everall impressed judges and spectators with their control of the animals. Everall won his class, taking his miniature horse through a series of obedience tasks.
For Cherry Valley senior Brenda Brookes, there wasn’t just one single thing that marked her fair experience. Instead, she entered 11 items in different categories and won ribbons in each category she entered.
Brookes said after her daughter Nicky encouraged her to get her paintings and a pencil drawing framed, she decided to enter six framed pieces of art.
A porcelain doll maker in the 1980s, she recently started making clothes for the dolls and with some help, she found an appropriate “For the home” category.
Brookes also won a first-place ribbon for her Chelsea buns, a favourite in the family that takes five hours to make as the yeast rises in stages. It received first prize and a ribbon she described as “gorgeous.”
She told the Gazette she is planning on entering the 184th edition of the fair as well.
“Certainly, the judges seem to like my work and I can do better — especially in the “bread” section,” she said.