Attendance up at fall fair in Emo

Heather Latter

A rain shower or two didn’t dampen the mood at the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s annual fall fair in Emo this past weekend, with attendance surpassing that of the previous year.
“I think it went really well,” enthused RRVAS president Emily Watson, noting nearly 8,000 people entered the fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday.
The stock car races at the Emo Speedway were rained out Saturday night, but were completed Sunday afternoon, with the midway and food booths also opening again for several hours.
“Normally we don’t run the midway on Sunday, but we did and there were lots of people out, people at the races, and it was a beautiful day,” Watson said.
Besides the brief downpour Saturday evening, the weather held out for the rest of the fair weekend, with temperatures in a comfortable range—not too humid, but not too cool.
Watson said each event at the fair seemed successful in its own right.
“There was a good turnout at the dance Saturday night,” she noted. “And the Farm Progress Building was fully booked.”
She added there was a waiting list so even with a few last-minute cancellations, they still were able to fill all the booths.
“The word is getting out and I think part of that is we have our website now,” Watson explained. “We have been getting calls from all over the place asking what we are all about and if there is an opportunity for them to come.”
She said groups, organizations, and businesses are able to rent a space on the grounds or a booth inside the arena.
“We’re able to accommodate large displays, like equipment, or we can accommodate smaller displays inside the Farm Progress Building, so hopefully that continues.”
And while entries at the exhibition hall were down slightly, Watson said she was thrilled to see participation from more area schools.
“The school art has been kind of dwindling the past couple of years, but this year we had some new schools on board and that’s nice to see,” she remarked.
Watson indicated the reason there were fewer entries was because three major exhibitors were unable to enter anything this year—Helen Logan and Inge Szeder, due to illness, and Donna Sinninghe, who was away on a trip.
“Just from those three people, and the amount of work that they do over the year and exhibit, that we noticed our numbers were down,” she said.
“So we’re hoping more people will put entries in next year,” Watson added, citing photography is a very popular exhibit.
However, there are plenty other categories, ranging from baking and crafts to gardening.
Meanwhile, despite a few hiccups during Saturday’s parade, Watson said it also was a success.
She noted just one float followed the “Disney on Parade” theme, showcasing “The Little Mermaid” movie, but people seemed to enjoy the parade regardless.
As usual, the parade featured several floats, antique cars, tractors, and horses.
It was, however, interrupted by a train as it came up Queen Street and the OPP didn’t make it in order to stop traffic at the highway, leaving members of the RRVAS to adorn safety vests and tend to traffic.
“We might have to look at doing something differently next year,” Watson conceded. “But the parade was good and people enjoyed it.”
In addition, Watson noted the livestock barns and events, such as the horse show and 4-H steer auction, also drew large crowds.
“And we had a lot of people out exhibiting, which is just great,” she enthused, saying that having Wayne Flatt’s identical triplet calves at the fair also was a big hit.
“Charolais cows are well-known for their protectiveness and she [the momma] was quite protective,” Watson said. “She was not too impressed with all the people that had to come and look at them.
“But it was nice that they brought them out since it’s so rare to have identical triples.”
Watson also noted the Gypsy Vanner horses that were new to the fair this year from Manitoba enjoyed entering into the different events, and plan to return next year with more horses.
“The fair was a success,” she stressed, adding organizers now will start looking ahead to the 2012 fall fair.
“We certainly welcome any ideas and suggestions for next year’s fair,” Watson said, noting the RRVAS contact information is available at www.emofair.com
“The hard work of the volunteers and the board make the fair a success every year,” she raved.
Those wishing to get involved with the RRVAS can come out to its first meeting of the new year on Jan. 9 at the Emo Arena.