Lots of fun to be had at the 137th edition of the Providence Bay Fair!

Keith Guy is the winner of the farmer’s tan line contest.

PROVIDENCE BAY – Not even the COVID-19 pandemic could derail the enthusiasm and creativity of the Providence Bay Fair board, which will be hosting its 137th edition of the fair, ‘Pioneer Days to Modern Ways,’ this weekend, albeit in a much different format—both virtual and live.

As usual, the Friday evening opening ceremonies for the fair promises to be very special. 

“We will also have past ambassadors on hand, including last year’s fair ambassador, Avery Sheppard, who will be our representative at the CNE when it returns next year,” said Ms. Dawson. For the opening “we will have the band Hunt the Hare, a Celtic group, doing a song and ditty as well.”

Friday night has also been deemed Bingo night, with kids’ farm bingo at 7 pm followed by traditional bingo at 8 pm featuring special guests and prizes. To obtain your free card, email Angela Johnston at almjohnston@gmail.com.

The bingos and opening ceremonies will be held on all the fair’s platforms—Facebook, Instagram and the website. 

“We’re really excited about the opening and hope people like the videos and understand why we can’t do this in person,” said Ms. Dawson. Those who have grown sunflowers had the opportunity to register for Adam’s Sunflower Challenge, in memory of the late Adam McDonald, a long-time fair board member and Providence Bay farmer. There are two categories: largest sunflower and best overall sunflower display up for cash prizes.

While you won’t be able to meander through the large exhibition barn at the fairground, admiring quilts and crafts, breads and more, this year these items can all be viewed from the safety of home. The fair board received 103 exhibits from children and over 175 from the general population.

On Friday, August 21 the virtual exhibit hall winners will be announced with their works displayed on the fair website starting at noon, ProvidnceBayFair.ca. Also at this time, three Junior Fair Ambassadors will also be announced, one for each category. Those who enter as many exhibits to the virtual hall as they can will be awarded points. Those youngsters will earn the title of Junior Fair Ambassador.

The fair’s Facebook page is well worth a look too. Fun contests on the lead-up to the fair have included best farmers tan (won by Keith Guy) and the very popular family look-alike contest.

On Saturday, the fair is bringing back its famed parade, but with a unique twist. This year the floats will be stationary, the cars will drive through! The parade will begin at the fairgrounds at 11 am and will run until 1:30 pm. Right at 11 am a piper will lead the first drivers through. Manitoulin Kettle Corn will be on-site selling popcorn and refreshments, for those passersby, and Providence Bay sons, ‘The Islanders’ will also be on their own float for some traditional fair entertainment. A reminder that there is no stopping and everyone must remain in their vehicle.

At 8 pm, at the fairgrounds, viewers can look forward to this year’s video submissions to Manitoulin’s Got Talent on the big screen! Before the drive-in double feature, ‘Charlotte’s Web’ followed by ‘Footloose,’ the contestants of Manitoulin’s Got Talent will be screened for the audience.

To purchase your movie tickets, visit HorizonDriveIn.com. 

The signature event on Sunday, August 22 is the Family Amazing Race. Families (which can include work families, friend families or traditional families) must register by contacting Ms. Dawson at either providencebayfair@gmail.com or by calling her at 705-377-5003 and show up at the fairgrounds Sunday morning at 10 am. The “families” will then be drawn from a hat with each given a clue as to where they must first appear. Once they figure out the clue and arrive at the spot (somewhere in Central Manitoulin), they will be given a task that will be judged for points.

The Family Amazing Race will also count toward Family Fun Trophy points, with the trophy to be awarded at 3 pm at the fairgrounds.