132nd Providence Bay Fair marks 100 years of 4-H in Canada

The Verboom children line up their calves for judging at the 2014 Providence Bay Fair by judge Neil Tarlton. Expositor file photo

PROVIDENCE BAY— This weekend marks the 132nd annual Providence Bay Fair and, as always, the fair promises something for everyone with a few new added treats too.

The gates open this Friday, August 21 at 5:30 pm with the midway from Albion Amusements, the Glendale Petting Zoo and pony rides all on offer in the fairgrounds. The Light Horse Club will showcase its talented riders and horses at the horse ring starting at 6 pm. At 7 pm, the exhibit hall opens to the public with your chance to see the handiwork and gardening talent of people from across Manitoulin. Admission to the fair is $5 for adults, $2 for children 6-12 and free for children five and under.

The opening ceremonies get underway at 7:30 pm on the arena stage with special guest 4-H Ambassador Olivia Bolender on hand to crown the Junior King and Queen of the Fair.

At 8 pm, five 17-year-olds from across the Island, Mackenzie Gilmore of Evansville, Tyra Young of Tehkummah, David Hall of Gore Bay, Kylie Cranston of Spring Bay and Nekiiyaa Noakes of M’Chigeeng, will all vie for the title of Ambassador of the Providence Bay Fair. Following a speech to the judges and audience, the title of Fair Ambassador will be awarded with that person representing Manitoulin Island at next summer’s Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.

New to the Fair this year is a Family Fun Trophy awarded to the family with the most points at the end of fair. Families who sign up prior to the Fair (by calling Dawn Dawson at 705-377-5003 or emailing her at mddawson@amtelecom.net) will be awarded points for participating in specific events: the Friday evening pie eating contest at 8 pm, Saturday afternoon’s Manitoulin Idol contest, a family tug of war, round bale push, paper boat race and, of course, having a family float in Saturday’s parade. The winning family will be announced Sunday afternoon with their name being the first to grace the trophy.

“We’re really hoping it takes off,” said Prov Fair organizing chair Dawn Dawson, noting that the trophy will stay on-site with the winning family receiving a plaque to take home.

On Saturday, August 22 the fun gets underway at 7:30 am with a pancake breakfast at the United Church hall until 11 am. Saturday’s admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 12 and free for children five and under. After 4 pm, admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children 6 to 12 and free for children five and under.

The gates to the Fair open at 9 am with the exhibit hall opening at the same time.

The annual parade, this year with the theme of ‘Story Book’, begins at 11:30 am so be sure to get a prime curbside seat to see who will win for best float.

The midway opens at 12 noon with Mr. Chris, an animated musical family show, taking to the arena stage.

Ms. Dawson smiles and laughs as she describes Mr. Chris. “He’s, shall we say, very groovy.” His hippy vibes and awesome puppets are sure to please.

Also at 12:30 pm the hard work of Manitoulin’s 4-Hers will be on display at the 4-H ring.

Back by popular demand the George Jones tribute band Possum will light up the outdoor stage at 1 pm.

At 1:30 pm the Manitoulin 4-H group is offering a special 100th anniversary of 4-H in Canada program. A booth will be on display showcasing photos from past and present of Manitoulin’s 4-H groups. Anyone with photos or information they would like to share for the anniversary is encouraged to contact Norma Hughson at 705-368-3416. 4-H is also pleased to welcome Ambassador Oliver Bolender to the Fair. She will be assisting in all the livestock judging at 1:30 pm and providing interactive events at the 4-H booth all weekend long.

Hey kids! Stretch out and get limbered up for the races taking place at 2 pm followed by face painting. Also at 2 pm, the heavy horse pull, with emcee Shirley Legge calling the shots, gets underway.

Mr. Chris is back on the arena stage at 3 pm for more groovtastic family fun.

The Manitoulin Special Olympians will be showcasing their do-si-dos with a squaredancing presentation at 4 pm followed by a supper break until 7:30 pm when Manitoulin Idol gives the Island’s biggest stars a chance to shine on the arena stage.

The gates open at 9 am on Sunday, August 23 with Sunday’s admission the same as Saturday.

The exhibit hall once again opens at 10 am with the sanctioned motocross races getting underway at the same time.

At 11:30 am, the midway fun and games are again open, as is the Glendale Petting zoo and pony rides and another fantastic show by Mr. Chris.

The always popular cow patty bingo takes place at 12 noon followed by the single horse pull (back after a one-year hiatus) at 1 pm, the turtle races (provide your own turtle) and the band Possum on the outdoor stage.

The quilt raffle winners will be drawn at 3 pm with the Manitoulin Idol first place winners giving a closing show, also at 3 pm.

See you at the fair!