2005 was year to clean house for fair board

The president of the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society regarded 2005 as being a “house-cleaning” year during her address at its annual meeting last Tuesday night at the Emo curling rink.
“2005 was a year for putting our house in order,” said Emily Watson, referring to the annual fall fair in Emo last August. “A great deal of maintenance and house-cleaning was done to the fairgrounds.”
Watson noted a new roof was installed on the outdoor entertainment stage, a new entrance was created for the parade to enter the fairgrounds, and a new floor was constructed in the cattle barn.
“We also saw the retirement of two long-term board members: Harold Kellar and Cecil Ogden,” she added.
Watson noted space rental was down at last year’s fair, with the upstairs of the arena, the Bingo booth, and the booth previously rented by the local Sea Cadets sitting empty.
She also indicated attendance was down 17 percent from 2004, especially due to the rain on the Friday night.
“We still managed to make money, though, by instituting some measures of efficiency,” Watson enthused, noting fewer workers were hired for shorter periods of time.
“The tractor show was a huge success following the parade and we hope to continue with it in 2006,” she added.
“And this coming year is also going to be another year of changes,” stressed Watson, who also is the reeve of La Vallee, noting the RRVAS is working towards moving the beer gardens and discussing the possibilities of fixing up the exhibition hall.
Watson also acknowledged the exhibitors who did well at the district level, including:
•Carol Burnell—first prize for her machine quilt;
•Vicki Calder—second prize for her hand-sewn quilt;
•Sylvia Beadle—third prize for her 60 percent whole wheat bread;
•Megan Beecham—first prize for chocolate chip cookies; and
•Julianna Donaldson—second prize for youth poster.
Also last Tuesday night, two items of business arose from the minutes of the last annual meeting.
A one-hour delay to the start of the meeting due to not having a quorum—which has happened at previous annual meetings—initiated a unanimous decision to change the bylaw regulating the size of the quorum.
Subsequent annual meetings of the RRVAS now will require a quorum of 10 people, instead of 15.
RRVAS member Angela Halvorsen also suggested the number of directors be decreased from 18.
“We’re just pushing people into the position to fill the spaces,” she noted, adding there are several who don’t attend the regular meetings.
“We need to have an effective board and when people don’t come to meetings, that’s not effective,” Halvorsen stressed.
While Watson agreed the size of the board of directors is too large, it was decided to leave the number unchanged.
Meanwhile, secretary/treasurer Jan Judson presented the audited financial statements, showing a net income from the fair as $14,911.40 and a general deficit of $24,393.07, bringing the total end of year surplus to $358,913.48.
Several reports by each committee were given regarding different aspects of the fair.
“More traffic has been directed to the website, which makes it worthwhile,” Halvorsen said about advertising.
She also noted a special insert displaying the fair schedule, which usually is included with the Fort Frances Times, was eliminated this past year and hopes to get that back for the 2006 fall fair.
RRVAS member James Gibson said organizing the parade was a big job. “There are ways it can be improved and changed,” he noted.
Member Gary Judson said he is looking for some new entertainment for this year’s Fair. “Arnie [the Fiddler] is good, but it might be good to make a change,” he remarked.
It also was mentioned that changes could be made in the exhibition hall, especially in the way the pictures were put and to ensure the criteria for the exhibits matches the art curriculum in the schools to eliminate disqualifications.
However, RRVAS member Marie Whiting noted exhibits were down this year. “I think we [need to] get more displays this year,” she said.
But members agreed the 4-H club held a successful steer auction and that much interest was shown in the horse shows. In fact, Halvorsen noted the numbers were up for light horses, with 45 participants.
“We resolved some of the issues we had from 2004,” she added, saying they are talking about having practise days to help keep things running along smoothly.
“The [miniatures] are on the up-swing all the way through the district,” noted Les Caul. “And we should have even more this year.”
The new executive was determined at the meeting. It includes Emily Watson (president), Angela Halvorsen (first vice-president), Gary Judson (second vice-president), and Jan Judson (secretary/treasurer).
The new board of directors consists of Lois Caul, Monika Galloway, Henry Kornelson, Ron Kelly, Bob Stewart, Marie Whiting, Jan Halvorsen, Jason Teeple, James Gibson, Tammy Kinnear, Tammy Hunsperger, Bill James, Jo Woolsey, Becky Georgeson, and Bev Hasiuk-Strachan.
Linda Armstrong is an ex-officio member while Gary Sliworsky is the ag rep.