Brussels Fall Fair ready to showcase at IPM - Sept. 14, 2017
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Members of the Brussels Agricultural Society have been hard at work for the last two weeks and the biggest Brussels Fall Fair ever is now ready for patrons and exhibitors.
The work that has been done by the society dates back far longer than just two weeks. It has been years since members voted to host the fair at the 2017 International Plowing Match (IPM) in Walton and work on the project began almost immediately.
There have been countless meetings and preparations all leading to this point. Members have now been on the site intermittently for the past two weeks preparing the fair’s tent on the IPM site. In addition to the attractions people have come to know and love at the fair, this year the society has also added a ferris wheel and a straw bale maze to its location.
While the fair’s footprint – including its outdoor ferris wheel, straw bale maze and other displays – is larger, much of the fair is enclosed in one of the Tented City’s largest tents, which is 60’ by 150’.
Brussels Agricultural Society President Matt Cardiff says that he hopes – and it has largely been the goal of society members – that once patrons step into the tent, they will feel as though they are at the Brussels Fall Fair, traditionally held at the Brussels, Morris and Grey Community Centre.
The Brussels Fall Fair will be located in the southeast corner of Tented City, which is near Gate 1 of the IPM site. Cardiff says the site is great, it’s highly visible and it has a sizable footprint at the site.
The children’s tractor pull, a staple at the Brussels Fall Fair for years, will be located outside the tent, as will two barn quilts associated with the Brussels Agricultural Society.
The barn quilts, one belonging to long-time secretary Brian Schlosser and the other to long-time members Jim and Leona Armstrong, will be on display for all to see. Schlosser, however, is welcoming visitors to the IPM to sign his barn quilt. He’s hoping to accrue thousands of signatures and messages on the barn quilt over the five days of the IPM and then have it sealed again before returning it to its rightful place upon his home barn.
Inside the tent, Cardiff said that the space filled up rather quickly, but when it’s full of quilting, field crop and food displays, among others, patrons will have that Brussels Fall Fair feel.
Erin McMahon, who was crowned Brussels Fall Fair Ambassador early last month, will also have her hands full, as she’ll be overseeing the largest event in fair history. She says she’s ready for the challenge and embraces the fair taking its show on the road to Walton for the IPM.
The fair will also feature a large stage that will present local entertainment throughout the duration of the match.
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, opening day of the match, the fair stage will play host to three musical acts. Adam Cousins will perform at 1 p.m., followed by Jamestown at 2 p.m. and the Swiss Farmer Band at 3 p.m.
Gloria and Keith Wilbee of Walton are the first on stage on Sept. 20, performing at 10 a.m., followed by The HEET at 11 a.m. The Belmore Community Choir will perform at 1 p.m., followed by the Clinton Wheelers n’ Dealers at 3 p.m.
Don and Dale Chesher and friends kick things off at 10 a.m. on Sept. 21, followed by Jan’s Dance Shop at 11 a.m., The Hiller Family at 1 p.m., Louise Poirier at 2 p.m. and Cappy Onn and her fiddle students at 3 p.m.
Bob Heywood is first on stage on Sept. 22, performing at 10 a.m., followed by the Brussels Pipe Band at 11 a.m., The Robertson Connection at 1 p.m., Adam Cousins at 2 p.m. and The Snell Family Connection at 3 p.m.
Joseph and Marie Flynn and Jason Lamont wrap things up on Sept. 23, the final day of the IPM, with a performance at 3 p.m. This comes after the 4-H Go for the Gold competition is on the Brussels Fall Fair stage from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The children’s tractor pull takes place at the fair site daily from 11 a.m. to noon and then again from 2-3 p.m.
The Brussels Fall Fair 4-H show will take place in the CKNX Event Centre on Wednesday, Sept. 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the 4-H Invitational Show will take place, also at the CKNX Event Centre, on Sept. 23 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Those are followed by the Future Farmers 4-H show at 1:30 p.m. and the 4-H alumni competition at 2 p.m.
As far as work is concerned, Cardiff says that he and his team have been hard at work for the last two weeks preparing the fair’s site and that nearly a week of rain last week didn’t make that task any easier.
Work will intensify in the coming days, however. Society members will be racing against the clock on the Sunday and Monday before the IPM to collect last-minute submissions from IPM-goers and to have them on display in time for Tuesday morning, when the match officially opens to the public.
It will be a tight turnaround, Cardiff says, but he’s confident that the team can pull it off.
On that note, he says that the volunteer roster for the fair tent on a daily basis is full and has been aided along the way by volunteers from other agricultural societies, members of the community and people putting their names forward wanting to help. Cardiff says he has had volunteers offer their services from as far away as Burford and Elmira.
Cardiff says that although hosting the fair at the IPM has meant a lot of work for society members over a long period of time, he thinks it will all be worth it by the time the match closes.
Supporting fall fairs, community and the Huron County way of life at something as important as the IPM mean that the Brussels Fall Fair and its volunteers are serving a much higher purpose than simply hosting a fair at the IPM.
For more information on the 2017 Brussels Fall Fair, visit the IPM website at plowingmatch.org or brusselsfallfair.ca.