I’m missing my Fair Family! As we all know, due to Covid, the decision has been made to not hold the Fair this year. I didn’t realize how much this event has became a big part of my life. Nor did I realize how closely I’ve come to know and appreciate my Fair Family.
For over twenty years I’ve been involved with the Fair Queen contest. Although it was always a busy and crazy time, Sis McCormick, Mary Croswell, Debbie Carlson and myself alway manage to pull it together. There were interviews and barbecues, fashion shows and emceeing to be done. Plus it never ceased to amaze me the sponsorship for this event. Every year I would tear up as I presented the Dorothy Bonot award and the crown donated by Debbie Carlson in memory of her daughter Jennifer Carlson. I would try not to get emotional but both these females still hold a special place in the community of Emo. For every bit of effort I put into the Queen contest I was given much more back in return. The Fair Queen crowning has always been done on a Thursday night. I would get over the excitement of that and then early Friday morning I would be at the Loggers Contest to emcee that fast paced, nail biting event.
Over the years I’ve made many an acquaintance of people, from Fort Frances Mill employees, to loggers, to numerous volunteers helping in so many ways. Charlotte Hyatt, Sis McCormick and myself have formed a team, throwing our skills together and making things work for this event. Kelvin Caul and son Jason organize, and pick up and deliver all the essentials needed for the contest. Judges are needed, score counters and so much more. It’s nail-biting as the loggers chop, cut, carve chairs, and get the water boiling in a coffee can. I’ve seen eyebrows with a slight singe. This event has been held in blazing sun, and rain so hard the ink ran off the page of my notes. I’ve tried to come up with a few funny jokes, but it seems they are mostly groaners. One of my favourite events has always been the Jack and Jill event where female volunteers would come out of the grandstand to compete. I tried myself one year, and did just fine placing fourth. Just my luck the prizes went to the top three winners! As always the Rainy River district comes through with supporting this event, with water and beverages supplied by Cloverleaf and Manitou Forest Products donating all the trees needed.
It’s always fun when there’s two or more rookies competing. The last few years I have had the privilege of interviewing several members from the Godbout family, the founders of the Loggers Contest. The contestants are always well rewarded with prizes, definitely making it with the sweat and tears, and sometimes a wee bit of blood. I’ve always laughed as I said to people, “I’m a versatile gal, Queen crowning one night to power saws and loggers the next morning!”
I love it all. Every year immediately after leaving the Loggers Contest I enjoy a delicious 4-H burger with french fries and then over to the Dairy Booth for a Tiger Tiger ice cream cone (large of course). As I reminisce about the RRDAS Fall Fair I realize how much I do miss my fair family as I’m sure many Rainy River district people do as well. I hope to see you all next year in Emo!