The crowds at the Shawville Fair numbered into the thousands as blue skies with the odd cloud made for a great day weather-wise.
The day kicked off with the Regional 4H show – followed by the Pee Wee show – inside the arena as young agriculture enthusiasts showed off their skills inside the ring.
As the day went on and the crowds swelled, the entertainers started taking to the stages.
The children’s stage featured everything from puppet shows to exotic animal displays to a juggling show featuring knives and rat traps.
One of the crowd favourites was Nathaniel Rankin and his aforementioned juggling routine. He had the crowd in stitches as he invited members up to serve as his assistant for several of his magic tricks.
For the juggling routine, Rankin balanced himself atop a crate which stood on top of a tube which sat on top of another crate. Not only did he juggle his own weight, before the crowd knew it he was flawlessly tossing two knives and a stick with two active rat traps attached.
As the afternoon wore on and the sunshine brought the temperatures up, fairgoers were treated to live music from the beer tent.
Ottawa band Young Bucks took to the flatbed stage as Lead singer Randy Frobel, Tim Anderson and Rory Mahew put on a solid show for the afternoon crowd with their classic rock stylings.
Outside, the horse ring continued to be a busy place as participants in the more than 150 classes got their chance to compete and put on a show for those in the grandstands.
As ring announcer Bonnie Nolan’s voice boomed over the loudspeaker, horses of all sizes and breeds kicked up dust as they trotted around.
Nolan’s specialty is announcing horse pull competitions, which she’s been doing for more than 35 years. Word of her talent has reached as far afield as the United States, where she’s announced a few events.
Nolan was joined in the announcers both by Shawville Fair Board members Erin Dittburner and Rhonda Morrison.
The horse ring was one of many for Dittburner as she travelled the grounds.
As a member of the board, Dittburner said there is never a shortage of tasks waiting to be done on fair weekend.
Board members help out with everything from making sure the stalls are ready for the animals to adjusting to a last-minute kink in a plan.
And while this year’s fair is the focus this weekend, the calendar turns over to next year when the gates close on Monday night.
“We end Monday and Tuesday it’s Shawville fair 2020,” she said.
Dittburner added that while many people come out for the fried food, the midway and the live entertainment, the organizers want to keep the spotlight on the agriculture.
“We’ve tried to make the barns more accessible,” she said. “People like to see exhibitors getting ready to show. It’s a great experience for people to get, especially first-hand.”
That focus on agriculture was on full display at the agricultural awareness barn which showed fairgoers how to make honey, milk a cow shear a sheep, among other things.
After Renfrew native Tyler Armstrong gave the sheep shearing demonstration, youngsters gathered round to feel the fresh cut on the sheep and thumb through the clippings.
Back inside the arena, the Simmental, Angus, Hereford and Crossbred show got underway as judge John Van Cyse from Stayner, Ont. cast his keen eye towards the cattle on display.
As the sun started setting and the evening rolled around, the Holstein show got under way in the arena.
As the cattle made the rounds in the rink, Ottawa band Ransom took to the main stage and warmed up the crowd with some country music along with some classic rock.
By nine o’clock, the crowd in front of the main stage had swelled in anticipation of the night’s main act, Hunter Brothers.
The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Award nominees are a family of four as the band is made up of four brothers from Shaunavon, Sask.
While each brother showed signs of promise as hockey players – each of them played at least junior with a couple making it to the professional ranks – before injuries ended some of their careers while the calling of the family farm ended others.
The band is currently touring in support of their sophomore album, State of Mind.
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