Providence Bay Fair draws in huge crowds for weekend full of fun

The ever popular horse pull always draws in a crowd!

PROVIDENCE BAY—The 139th edition of the Providence Bay Fair was marked with massive crowds for its many events together with beautiful weather.

From the opening of the exhibit hall Friday evening, displaying the thousands of items including locally made quilting, baking, photography, crafts and much more, the talented participants in the Fair Ambassador competition, to the many events on Saturday, including the fabulous parade, the soap box derby, musical entertainment, the midway, judging of livestock, the kids zone, Manitoulin’s Got Talent show, heavy draft horse pull, the many vendors in the arena and the fair grounds and many other events throughout the day, and more on Sunday, there was certainly something for everyone in the family to enjoy.

Jack White, president of the Providence Bay Agriculture Society, welcomed everyone to the opening of the fair. “In 2019, there was talk of having no fair at all, and we had a virtual meeting of the fair board and there were people saying we couldn’t hold it. If that had been the case, I would be welcoming everyone to the third annual fair.”

“Instead, we held virtual, static fairs (with the pandemic) and it is the members, directors and associate members and volunteers the last three years and this year as always who have made it happen,” said Mr. White.

“It is nice to be here for the 139th annual Providence Bay Fair,” stated Norm Morrell, master of ceremonies for the Friday evening opening of the fair. “We are all so fortunate that the fair board, all those people in the red shirts this weekend, have done such a wonderful job of keeping things operating  smoothly.”

Richard Stephens, Mayor of Central Manitoulin said, “I would like to thank each and every one of you for being here with us this evening. It has not been as usual the past two years (because of the pandemic) but I’m sure everyone will have a super time and super fun this year.”

“You can thank the people in the red shirts for the people doing all the work,” said Mayor Stephens. “Thanks to fair board president Jack White and his crew for all their efforts in putting the fair on.”

Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP Carol Hughes bade best wishes of her own and on behalf of MPP Michael Mantha to the organizers and everyone on hand for the event.

Karlene Scott, organizer and master of ceremonies for the Fair Ambassador pageant encouraged everyone on hand to make it a point to look at the entrants in the front yard displays and hay bale structure competition. The Duxbury family took first place in the front yard display contest, with Mona Lewis taking second and the Smith family third. In the hay bale structure competition, Bruce and Allison Orford with their John Deere ‘My Green, Green Tractor’ entry took first place followed by the MacKelvie and Dawson families in second and third place.

The Sunflower display saw Sarah Bowerman taking first place, with Barb Neal second and Judy Byers third.

Angela Johnston presented the junior ambassador awards to Jonathon Orford and Charlie Orford in the age 6-10 division and to Natalie French in the kids 11 and over division.

Jack White then took the stage to present a special award. “Through the years, we have had a lot of people volunteer, and among them are those people that go above and beyond,” he said in presenting an Ontario Agriculture Society Meritorious Service award to Dawn and Murray Dawson. He explained the directors of the local agriculture society pick the recipients of the award. 

The seven entrants in the Ambassador of the Fair pageant were introduced, including Amber Wahl, Whittier Gauthier, Malia Leighton, Katelyn Lentir, Mary Hore, Odemin Beaudin and McKenna Grace Barnes. Each presented her speech, each with an agriculture theme.

Later in the evening, Mary Hore was selected by judges as the Ambassador of the Fair, with Katelyn Lentir getting the nod from her peers as Miss Congeniality. First runner-up was Malia Leighton.

Local band The Islanders provided musical entertainment during the evening and, during the intermission, the always popular pie-eating contest was held with Vic Arunaozhi of London winning.   

The parade Saturday morning had to be one of the best of any fair, with many entries. The theme for the parade was ‘Life Is a Country Song.’

Taking first place for best theme float was the Dawson Family’s ‘John Deere Green’ entry with second place going to the Duxbury family’s ‘Red River Valley float.’

The Duxbury family took first place in the most innovative and attractive float. The 4-H club entry, ‘Where the Green Grass Grows’ took first place in the general float division with other award winners including Tammy MacKelvie and her donkey.

The soap box derby proved to be a very popular event with 70 youngsters registering in the event and a huge crowd on hand to watch.

There were six teams taking part in the heavy horse draft pull Saturday afternoon. The final results saw Stan Osawamick and his team of George and Harry pulling a weight of 11,000 pounds, 10 feet nine inches to take the heavy horse class. The winner in the light horse pull category was Gerald Webkamigad and his team of Frank and Pal. Mr. Osawamick’s team also won for best dressed and best teamster categories.