Country Roads. The Laird Fair

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2016-08-21_20.32.28A strong attendance of folks from all ages, flocked to the 41st consecutive year of Laird Fair, August 19 – 21st in Laird, Ontario. The North Shore Agricultural Society’s, Laird Fair, is an event that draws from the rich tradition of rural agriculture around Desbarats, Laird, Echo Bay, Bar River, Sylvan and Dunn’s Valleys and St. Joseph’s Island in Ontario’s north-central region.

Events include Tractor Pulls, Showmanship Competitions, Pleasure Halter, Extreme Ranch Horse, Chicken & Alternate Poultry Competition, Indoor Exhibits such as baking and preserves, Softball Tournament, Livestock and Dog Showing, Children’s Programming, Live Music and more.

20160821_124739Board of Directors Treasurer, Amanda Holmberg told saultonline “Our numbers of attendance are up 40% from last year, and we had twice as many competitors taking part this year.”

Extreme heat during 2015’s Fair dates gave way to unpredictable weather with rain and high winds creating challenges for the 2016 Laird Fair organizers, all of whom are volunteers.

20160821_124845The Extreme Ranch Show drew a good crowd, and was supported by Judge, Paige Swanson, who came from southern Michigan. Swanson is a world class ‘Hunter Horse Jumper’. The Extreme Ranch show was new to the 2016 Fair line-up and involved a series of obstacles and routines horse and rider completed.

A cacophony of ‘fowl’ sounds was busting out of the barn where the Alternate Poultry Division Exhibit was housed. Terry Winters, Show Clerk, spoke with Saultonline about the activity taking place in Agriculture Building #2.

20160821_125920The Show Clerk helps to organize Laird Fair competition entries, which are mostly from members of The Youth Algoma Poultry Association (YAPA). “We run the registration, set up the event, make sure all the paperwork is done properly, and help judges in the judging process by making sure that every bird in each category is judged. We also help with putting on the ribbons.”

Sunday was alternative poultry day. Guinea fowl, Pigeons, Harlequin ducks, and other ducks, Sebastopol, Toulouse and several geese varieties, Indian Runners, Indian Rowing Crosses, doves, and more were shaking their tail feathers in the poultry exhibition barn.

The Serama bird breed Winters raises near Desbarats, Ontario, originated from Malaysia. “He’s a real cuttle-bug.” she said. “There were over 100 chickens entered in the Poultry category on Saturday.”

20160821_125818Mary Rose and Levi MacKay have been involved with showing ‘poultry’ and ‘alternate poultry’ at the Laird Fair for over 2 years. This is Jacob Brydges first year.

20160821_125347Hunter Stobie, age 7 years from Echo Bay, and his Harlequin duck, took 2nd place in the classification he entered.

The Children’s area included live shows on Saturday and Sunday with Cindy Cook & Apoot, the baby polar bear.

Cindy Cook is a children’s performer. She is familiar to Canadian families as the longest running female host of Canada’s most popular TV Show “Polka Dot Door” as well as the award winning series “Time to Read”.

Cindy has performed at The Laird Fair in the past, and was brought back this year thanks to long-time Laird Fair Board member and advocate, Girlie Collings.

“We started the Laird Fair back up again in earnest, in 1975 after Laird Township celebrated their 100th anniversary in 1974.”

20160821_133435Cindy Cook & Apoot were heading to the Blind River Library for a show on Monday, and then home to Manitoulin Island.

Cindy Cook’s website is here:www.cindy-cook.com

On Sunday afternoon, ‘A Band Named Soo’ was kickin’ it country style with live music in The Gazebo.

20160821_145833On Saturday night, there were enough people enjoying the live music that “We ran out of beer.” shared Brandon Gough, vendor support with The Laird Fair. “Even the food vendors were running out of food.” By Sunday, all supplies had been topped up.

20160821_140754With numbers of people heading to Laird Fair steadily increasing, the planning for 2017 has already started. A short 35 minute drive from Sault Ste. Marie, it’s a perfect opportunity to get a little bit country.

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