Flying high at the Fair
The South Mountain Fair brought in a new midway operator this year, Carter Shows, who set up rides for attendees of all ages. Some of the more popular rides were the bumper cars, merry-go-round, and Area 51, the ferris wheel thriller. Area 51, or the Manco Paratrooper, according to the Carter Shows website, is “made of cars suspended below a wheel which rotates at an oblique angle. The cars are free to rock sideways and swing out under centrifugal force and the wheel rotates. Invariably, the cars on a paratrooper have an umbrella or other shaped canopy above the riders.” The midway, which opened Friday and ran to Sunday, also offered many carnival games and concessions.        O’Donohue photo

Michelle O’Donohue
Record Contributor
SOUTH MOUNTAIN – A weekend full of activities were planned to mark the 125th edition of the South Mountain Fair. The Fair ran from Thurs., Aug. 17, through to Sun., Aug. 20, and drew in large crowds each day. Attendees are accustomed to a full schedule of events at the Fair, and this year certainly delivered, with Saturday in particular boasting non-stop entertainment from the moment the gates opened to the public at 8 a.m.

Kathryn Boyd holds her 18-month-old twin boys Connor (left) and Kaeden Boyd-Hogan. Connor and Kaeden competed in the toddler section of Saturday’s contest.

One of the first events of the day, that always draws a crowd, was the Baby Contest. As usual, the event was divided into the age groups of newborn, infant, and toddler, and included fun categories like biggest eyes, smallest toes, and a family member look-a-like competition. There were 21 participants this year. Event Chair Joanne Havekes proudly announced that all money raised from registration for this event would be donated directly to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

On display all day Saturday was the poultry barn, where visitors could view over 550 birds that were entered into competition over the weekend. Event organizer Ross Dillabaugh explained that the judging took place on Friday, and that there were approximately 70 classes represented within the competition. The overall grand champion for the event was a Black Cochin.

4-H was well represented also with dairy competitions on Saturday and a beef show on Sunday. Also on Saturday was the Pre 4-H Dairy & Showmanship Class. Judge Jonathan Rylaarsdam explained that as the entrants in Pre 4-H are not distinguished or ranked, his primary functions are to get the competitors used to answering questions, be friendly, encourage them, and hopefully have them continue with 4-H.

Two different horse shows took place on Saturday morning. The Saddle & Harness Show was the traditionally competitive option with a variety of classes of horses being shown. The second show was the Children’s Fun Pony & Horse Show. This event included participants aged 6 to 15. Event organizers Quinlan Dangerfield and Sarah Holmes explained that the primary purpose of the event was to see the children laughing and playing with their ponies.

Hundreds of entries into the Junior Homecraft section were displayed throughout the weekend. Entries included paintings, drawings, woodwork, play dough sculptures and tissue paper crafts, among many others.

The Lila Fawcett Exhibit Hall was open all weekend for attendees to browse and admire the talented Homecraft entries. Judging took place on Friday. Many categories were well represented, with Junior Homecrafts being one of the largest sections.

The Fair brought in a new midway operator this year, Carter Shows, who set up rides for attendees of all ages. Some of the more popular rides were the bumper cars, merry-go-round, and Area 51. The midway also offered many carnival games and concessions.

A dedicated children’s tent was set up where kids could colour, have their face painted, or be amazed by a comedic magic show. Just behind the children’s tent was an elaborate petting zoo.

A special highlight of the weekend’s festivities was the Heritage Parade that took place Saturday afternoon. Alan McCaslin, one of the volunteers for the parade, said that they were expecting approximately 40 floats. He went on to explain that the special event was meant to celebrate the 125th year of the Fair, and that participants were asked to bring anything that would take spectators back in time. Entrants varied from antique cars, to tractors, and decorated horses and wagons, to a float carrying previous Dairy Princesses of Dundas.

Another anticipated event for the day that drew a large audience was the Hand Milking Contest. There were 12 competitors, and three heats. Participants were randomly assigned a cow, and they had one minute to extract as much milk as they could from their cow. Once the minute was over, their pails were weighed. The winning competitor was Dianne Scheepers, with four pounds of milk. Scheepers beat her next closest opponent by over half a pound.

Twins Sophia (left) and Brielle Graham (4 year olds) of Chesterville prepare for their ride on the swings at the midway. O’Donohue photos

The fun continued on into the evening with a pizza-eating contest, mutton busting for brave youngsters, and a full night of musical entertainment planned. Ben and Noel Haggard – “The Strangers” – led things off, followed by Sticks N Stones. The musical entertainment on Sunday was not to be missed either beginning with Unwound, followed by Gail Gavan, and closing off the Fair was country music star Tanya Tucker.

When asked how he felt about the attendance at the Fair so far, first-year Fair President Alan Burns said, “I haven’t seen all the numbers, but I know our gates person has been run ragged keeping up with the wrist bands that they’re going through at all the gates.”