The leaves are starting to turn and fall, students are back in the classroom and the nights are getting a little cooler.
Yes, fall is just around the corner, and that means it’s time for the annual Wellesley-North Easthope Fair, which runs September 15 and 16.
This year, the event is celebrating 100 years of 4-H in Ontario with a number of events involving livestock and agriculture for patrons young and old to enjoy.
“I think it’s something that for people who have grown up in an agricultural environment, 4-H has taught us all many things that we probably didn’t know about,” fair past president and long-time committee member Murray Schlueter explained. “And right in Elmira was where the first 4-H meeting was held 100 years ago. And it’s grown from there and it’s throughout the province. There are many clubs today, from the dairy, beef, sheep, swine and even the horse clubs and the maple syrup club and it has opened up to where it’s not just the rural kids but there are now plenty of urban kids involved, too.”It’s a theme that fits well within the tradition of the fair, which for many years featured horse shows as well as a variety of livestock competitions.
This year all of the fan favourite activities are back on the docket, beginning with the dairy day for school kids on Tuesday.
“We bring in two live cows and we start with the heffer, which of course is the one that gets pregnant and after it gives birth produces milk,” Schlueter said. “And we have a young lady who will be doing the milking for us so that the kids will actually get to see the milk coming into the pail. We also have a veterinarian who will talk about animal health and we also have a dairy nutritionist who will talk about what a cow consumes each day as far as food and water goes. And then the kids will walkthrough a model barn and from there they will be treated to some milk so they will really be following the milk from the cow through to the carton and finally to their breakfast table.”
It’s an important lesson, particularly since only two per cent of Ontarians have a connection to a farm today, Schleuter added.
Tuesday’s agenda will also include the opening of the midway from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., the officially opening ceremony at 7 p.m. in the Wellesley Arena featuring Mr. 4-H, John Drummond, and the Wellesley Idol and Fall Fair Ambassador competitions.
On Wednesday, the midway will run from noon to 9 p.m. The Hands on Exotics pet show will give people a chance to get up close to some lizards, snakes and even a kangaroo in the arena, and the horse show is set for 11 a.m. on the ball diamond.
At 6 p.m. there will be a grand opening ceremony for the accessible playground.
Open since July, the new facility has been a popular spot throughout the summer for families in the community, says Play Together project coordinator Jennifer Kays Sommer.
“We are hoping to have our bench, armour stone rocks, the archways, the welcome signs and the donor board ready for the grand opening,” she said, noting that while the park has been in use for much of the summer, there were still a few finishing touches underway this week. “The ceremony will be a great time to recognize all of the community groups who were such a big part of the project.”
The final budget came in at $316,000, Kays Sommer said, with the funding coming in from an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant as well as donations from community members and businesses.
Finally, the fair will conclude, as always, with a fireworks show after dusk.
For more information, visit www.wellesleynehfallfair.ca.