Dark clouds and rain may have loomed over the district but they couldn’t extinguish the spark from the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society’s annual fall fair in Emo last Thursday through Saturday.
“People still came out despite the rain and, for the most part, I think they had a good time,” said RRVAS president Emily Watson, noting attendance only was down about 650 people from last year, with about 6,600 people taking in the sights and sounds of the fair.
“I’m sure we could have broken our record this year if we had had better weather,” Watson remarked.
“There were a lot of positive things and, personally, I think it was another successful year,” she added.
Watson said there’s nothing that can be done about the weather.
“All you can do is try to continue on,” she said, noting nearly every event was able to carry on as planned, some with just a few adjustments.
“We were able to get in one really good night of [stock car] racing,” she said.
Friday night’s stock car races finished up before the rain began to fall, but they were unable to go Saturday night because of the wet weather.
“It wasn’t because of the track but because the pits were underwater,” Watson explained.
Due to the cancellation on Saturday, the event was rescheduled to Sunday afternoon. The midway and food booths also planned to open up as well from noon-6 p.m.
But again, the weather had other plans. Environmental Canada said more than 36 mm rain fell over the weekend, making the fairgrounds—and the race track—muddy and wet.
However, the rain on Saturday and Sunday really only affected the stock car racing. Other events, such as the fair queen contest and the loggers’ competition, were able to go ahead as scheduled.
The exhibition hall and Farm Progress Building also were full with booths and exhibits.
The parade, “Barnyard Olympics,” and the 4-H steer auction had to make a few adjustments in order to deal with the rain.
The bleachers and ring for the auction were moved inside the barn while the parade and “Barnyard Olympics” were held behind the grandstand instead of in front of it.
“The kids had a really good time with the ‘Barnyard Olympics,’” said Watson, noting five teams of two competed in a wheelbarrow race, a horseshoe toss, and a rubber boot dash.
Justin Bujold and Taylor Meyers finished in first place overall, with Jolene Stahn and Mitch Haw coming in second.
Ashley Croswell and Morgan Haw placed third.
Watson also felt having the parade enter the fairgrounds behind the grandstands was a different experience.
“In the grandstands, the people are so far away. This year, I could nearly reach out and touch them,” she remarked.
And despite the rain, many children still enjoyed the midway. For the most part, the rides continued operating through the downpour.
And the afternoon entertainment, “Nighthawk” (consisting of Glen Tower, Wes DeBungee, James Eastman, Elmer Whitefish, and Kurt Savinkoff), also continued their performance.
“We got everything done with the help of lots of volunteers,” Watson noted. “It’s always a positive thing when you see people coming out and supporting something that really affects the whole district.
“When you look at the racing, the loggers, the farming—it wraps it all together.”
And, of course, the RRVAS always is looking for new members to join the fair board.
Anyone interested is encouraged to attend the annual meeting, which will be held in January.