Hoedown Throwdown

Is it just me, or is county fair season not the absolute best time of year.

If you know me personally, you know how much joy I have always gotten out of visiting local county fairs. Having been born and raised a small town fair loving girl spending many, many years taking in the Madoc Fair.

The last few years have been quiet, I think the last fair we were at was in 2019 – I know there were some virtual ones held during the pandemic – but let’s be real .. that isn’t a fair.

A few weeks ago Arnprior relaunched fair season with the Valley Agricultural Festival (VAF).
When I tell you I was head over cowgirl boot excited it is an understatement.

Y’all, AMBUSH was there!

Just a couple girls hangin with the band

Let’s back it up just a touch.

As we are readjusting to our new normal; finally in a place where our communities can host beloved events once again, it’s important to: take a minute and be kind, take a minute and remember the volunteers pouring hours or labour and love into bringing us these events again, take a minute and remember for many reasons things can not just go back to what they were. It will take time, it will take patience and it will take on going support.

Unfortunately you may just find that these fairs (or other events) aren’t what you remember from pre pandemic days, but if we aren’t supporting the efforts and attending the events it will be more difficult going forward for organizers to continue going forward.

Now you may be asking yourself, what on Earth is she talking about? Or why is this even a conversation needing to be had?

Leading up to the VAF l read article after article in local news publications about the problems and disappointments that were bound to happen with this years festival. I found it hurtful to me and I had put nothing into the event. Having myself planned many public events, I know how discouraging it can be as a volunteer to give so much of myself and be giving up time from my own friends and family to be meant with just negativity. It leaves you wondering why bother.

It’s also vital to think of the behind of scenes, not just of our festival, but for all of the upcoming fairs this season and maybe even next.

For 3 years equipment sat unused – that isn’t great for safety and it may be very possible your favourite rides just can’t be up and running this time around. Like many sectors, staffing shortages make it difficult for the amusement companies to book the same way they have in the past for fairs, or to have the same travel availability and there are just fewer companies available for booking. To that same effect, as communities bolster back into “normal” events scheduling with fewer amusement companies for booking looking into alternative options means that as a guest you need to think outside of the box.

So well the VAF wasn’t exactly the fair I remembered as a child, my kids had the best time on all things bouncy and I had the very best time enjoying live music once again with all the nostalgia and joy seeing Ambush had to bring.

I encourage you to get out and enjoy your local community events, just come at them with kindness and appreciation and a special understanding that the pandemic has changed the scope of things and we need to find our way back.