Monday, July 22, 2024

What’s happening at this years Shawville Fair?

Message from Vaughan Bastien, President of the Pontiac Agricultural Society

It’s that time of year again, and we are busy getting ready for the “The Valley’s Most Family Friendly Fair”.
Once again, this year Shawville Fair has something for everyone. There’s the friendly competition among the bakers and crafters in the Lifestyle Building, livestock shows, midway and the entertainment, and let’s not forget the great fair food.
It takes many volunteers countless hours to make this fair happen.
I would like to thank these volunteers and also the Fair Board members for their dedication, and I invite you to come and enjoy Shawville Fair 2023.

Familiar favourites, new attractions to highlight 2023 Shawville Fair

Connor Lalande
shawville August 21, 2023
With the waning of August comes an event that Pontiacers and people from across the Ottawa Valley and beyond look forward to throughout the year. No, not sending over-energized kids back to school, but rather the one and only Shawville Fair.
A lasting institution of historic proportions, the fair’s yearly arrival transforms Shawville into a bustling celebration of agriculture and community. The Pontiac Agricultural Society - with support from a small army of volunteers and sponsors - works tirelessly to lay the groundwork for the festivities and foster an experience that draws in crowds from here, there and pretty much everywhere.
Fairgoers come to revel in all the things that make fairs enduringly popular. Basking under the neon lights of the midway, fairgoers indulge in generous helpings of fair cuisine, experience the adrenaline rush of the demolition derby, brave the spinning and jerking thrills of its many rides and learn about agriculture through its various exhibits.
And while visions of deep-fried pickles, cars smashing into one another, ferris wheel rides and prize-winning cucumbers are enough to elicit excitement in even the most cynical, it is a consistent truism that no celebration is complete without some bumpin’ tunes. Luckily for all, the Pontiac Agricultural Society understands this, and has organized a lineup of musicians for the 2023 Shawville Fair that is sure to keep the dance floor packed and the good times flowing all fair long.
With the 2023 Shawville Fair quickly approaching, THE EQUITY has compiled a breakdown of the many new exciting events and attractions to grace this year’s fair. We’ve reached out to the people who know best - the local movers and shakers, so to speak - to lay out why the 2023 fair is shaping up to be one for the books.
Vehicular destruction aficionado Jeremy Williams describes the rousing additions to this year’s demolition derby. Wordsmith Tom McCann pens a rundown on the Fairs addition of a writing competition. Long-standing horse maestros Sandra and Heather Dale outline this year’s inclusion of a Heavy Horse Educational Tent.
All this and more in this week’s edition of THE EQUITY.

The 2023 Directors of the Pontiac Agricultural Society.
Front row, left to right: Hayley Campbell, Holly Campbell, Ralph Lang, Vaughan Bastien, Jason Wilson, Kayla McCann and Heather Dale. Back row, left to right: Lee Stanley, Gerald Dagg, Kendall Lang, Elwyn Lang, Kelly King, Lisa Coles, Mavis Hanna, Ken Bernard, Tanya Greer, Nancy Tubman, David Bobier, Josey Bouchard and Ryan Currie. Missing from picture: Sandra Dale, Tyler McCann, Vince Belland, Rayden Besharah, Randi Lee Chevrier, Beth Knox Campbell, Mike Rusenstrom and Paul Scheel.

Get up close and personal with ‘Gentle Giants’ in Heavy Horse Educational Tent

Sandra and Heather Dale
Shawville August 23, 2023
Have you ever wondered how much a huge draft horse can eat?
Or wanted to see how tall they really are when you’re standing right next to them?
Check out the size of those feet!
We are so excited to have a Heavy Horse Educational Tent at the Shawville Fair this year, right next to the main arena, where you will be able get right up close to some of these Gentle Giants, pet them and ask any question you want.
Last year we saw a tent like this at one of the other heavy horse shows in the Ottawa Valley, and it was like “Wow! We need this at the Shawville Fair.”
Our Fair Board President Vaughan Bastien and the directors were all on board, so we made it happen here.
Featured guests in our first-ever Heavy Horse Educational Tent will be six Clydesdale hitch horses owned by Ray and Amber McLaughlin of Haley Station, just across the Ottawa River in Ontario.
Greeting visitors as they enter the tent will be Marty, a retired gelding, who will be happy for you to pet him or any one of his stable mates.
You can watch them get prepped for their show.
See them get their ‘hair done’ (rolling the mane), groomed, harnessed, and ready for competition.
The McLaughlins recently did us all proud when they showed their six-horse hitch at the World Clydesdale Congress in Brandon, Manitoba, in July, and we are thrilled they can join us at the Fair from Friday morning through to Sunday evening.
The Heavy Horse show on Friday night is in the arena at 6:30 p.m., and on Saturday afternoon it is in the outside ring at 1:00 p.m.
Also new this year will be the Miniature Horse classes which will be part of the Friday night show. If you thought the Heavy Horses were cute, wait till you see their miniature versions pulling their own miniature wagons. Same look, but oh so small.
Looking forward to seeing you at The Fair!

Fair to feature first-ever writing competition

Tom mccann
shawville August 21, 2023
This year, Shawville Fair is hosting, for the first time, a writing competition. The Shawville Fair Board enthusiastically got behind the initiative when it was proposed in the spring. It will be hosted in the building where the Homecrafts and other arts are displayed. This is an excellent opportunity for local writers, especially those who like to write but seldom show their work to anyone else.
For this first year there are five classes: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Opinion-Editorial and Poetry. As for rules, there is a limit of 1,000 words or two pages per entry. Every entrant has to buy a membership to the fair board, which is a standard policy across all classes at the fair. There are no age or language divisions.
To make things as equitable as possible, there will be two judges involved, making this one of the very few times, if ever, that more than one judge will be used for a single competition. Both are academics, and both are bilingual, one with a mother tongue of English and the other French. The judges will score the entries separately and their tallies will be combined to decide placements.
This is where things get even more interesting. After the scoring has been completed, the judges will each provide by secret ballot a choice for “Best in Show”. The ballots will be opened at the same time so there is no opportunity for their preferences to influence each other. If they both nominate the same entry, the writer will be recognized as “Best in Show” and receive the $200 prize provided by the West Quebec Literacy Council. If the judges nominate two different entries, the monetary prize will be split between the two, with each receiving $100.
The West Quebec Literacy Council sponsoring this prize is a game changer. They have been doing great work in the Pontiac for decades, and this is just an extension of those efforts to promote literacy in our area. Their sponsorship has created a lot more interest which, in turn, will add some extra credibility to the competition. The $200 is a significant amount and should encourage more writers to test the waters. I always felt there were more writers out there than I personally knew of. Some of them have already reached out looking for more information. This will be a good chance for writers of many types to display their efforts.
You may see this writing competition as a small thing. I see it as a cool opportunity with some real interesting potential. The ripples caused by the announcement of the competition have already made changes with some good people such as the WQLC getting involved.
The full set of rules can be found on the Shawville Fair website under the Fairbooks tab, in the Homecrafts book in section 3A. The information can be found in French in the Aliments et Conserves link on the French side, in section 3A.
If you have any questions, just write me at I’d be happy to help.

Tom McCann, from Clarendon, loves to write, is a member of the local writers’ group 26 Letters and is part of the team organizing the writing competition at this year’s Shawville Fair.

Demolition Derby’s new ‘junk run’ will be a ‘symphony of destruction’

Jeremy Williams
August 21, 2023
In the realm of motorsports, where speed, precision, and power often take centre stage, there exists a unique and exhilarating sport that defies conventional norms - demolition derbies.
While the spectacle of crashing cars might not seem like the epitome of high-octane competition, being a demolition derby driver requires immense dedication and passion for the craft. With each dent and collision, these drivers demonstrate that the journey is just as important as the destination.
The motto “you have to love it to do it” rings particularly true for demolition derby drivers. This sport requires a level of commitment that goes beyond the ordinary. From the moment a driver decides to enter a derby, the countdown begins. The countless hours spent stripping and preparing a vehicle for the intense competition can be overwhelming, to say the least. Every bolt, nut, and piece of glass meticulously removed is a testament to the dedication required. Yet, despite the grueling demands, the allure of the demolition derby draws in individuals who truly find joy in this sport.
The heart of the demolition derby lies in the pursuit of transforming ordinary vehicles into heavy-duty contenders. It’s not just a matter of stripping down a car; it’s an intricate process that requires an understanding of mechanics, strategy, and sheer determination. The outcome might not seem proportional to the enormous effort invested. The question often arises: why go through all this trouble for a few minutes of wild, chaotic action in the ring? The answer lies in the essence of the sport… its a labour of love.
New This Year
A new class has been added to the Shawville fair demolition derby this year, called the “junk run.” With strict rules that limit reinforcement and modifications, drivers are forced to embrace the raw, unaltered spirit of competition which will rely solely on driving skills. I believe both the crowd and competitors’ affinity for the junk run will be instantaneous; it’s a spectacle where vehicles of all shapes and sizes converge to create a symphony of destruction. From SUVs to all-wheel drives, the diversity of vehicles adds an element of unpredictability that keeps both drivers and spectators on the edge of their seats. It will also gain popularity among competitors due to the ‘anything goes’ factor, because good competitive cars for V6 and V8 classes are becoming harder to come by as time passes.
The appeal of the demolition derby is further accentuated by the accessibility it offers to competitors. Unlike some motorsports that require specialized skills and high-end equipment, anyone can step into the derby ring. This inclusivity is a significant draw, encouraging enthusiasts from all walks of life to try their hand at this adrenaline-pumping endeavor. The thrill of taking an ordinary vehicle and pushing it to its limits in a battle of brute force is a unique experience that unites participants and spectators alike.
While all vehicles have their merits, the roar of a V8 engine holds a special place in my heart. These engines bring a distinct level of power and longevity to the competition. In a world where cars are designed for elegance and efficiency, the sight of a V8-powered machine ramming through its opponents is a one to behold. The durability and resilience of these engines allows drivers to participate in multiple derbies, ensuring that their dedication pays off over time.
Demolition derbies might not offer the prestige of Formula 1 or the precision of rally racing, but they boast a unique charm that resonates with those who understand its essence. The painstaking hours spent preparing a vehicle, the fleeting moments of exhilaration during a derby, and the camaraderie shared among drivers are all part of the bigger picture that makes this sport worth the effort. A demolition derby driver is not just a participant; they’re an artist, a strategist, and a lover of all things automotive, making this the perfect sport for someone like me.

Jeremy Williams (left) has been competing in demolition derbies since he was 18 and has won eight. He became fascinated by mechanics at his Dad’s side at the age of 10 and did backyard mechanics for 10 years before opening his own automotive business, Jer’s Auto Service in Ladysmith, six years ago. He also plays a mean lead guitar in the hard rock band Beyond Driven fronted by his fiancé Erin Davis (right).

Local and national acts to thrill audiences at the Fair

Connor Lalande
Shawville August 17, 2023
This year, musical acts at the Shawville Fair will be rockin’ two different stages depending on the time of day - the larger main stage area and the more intimate beer tent. The following is a list of who will be playing where throughout the duration of the festivities, with all times listed being approximate.
Friday, September 1
Starting off the long weekend right, “Ottawa’s favourite Party Band” Sussex will be taking the main stage from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.. Made up of Elyssa Mahoney on vocals, Ben Harris on bass, Dave Szwec multitasking vocals, guitar, and keys, Colin Mills on guitar and Phil DesRoches on drums, Sussex bills themselves as a “vocal heavy popular rock and dance band” that covers “some of the best classic rock and modern pop without hitting the tunes we have all heard a thousand times.”
Following Sussex, Canadian music mainstays Big Sugar will be taking the main stage by storm with their self-described “unique combination of Jamaican rhythms, blues tonality and heavy rock aggression.” Known for ear-worm-inducing hits like Turn the Lights On, Big Sugar’s attendance at the fair is sure to draw enthusiastic crowds of Canadian music connoisseurs.
Big Sugar’s set will be followed up by a second energizing helping of Sussex from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m..
Saturday, September 2
On Saturday afternoon, between 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., the gloriously named Hillbilly Deluxe will be gracing the beer tent with their country music talents, with Tom Martel Jr., Brianne Luckasavitch, Rich Allen, Tom Martel Sr. and Willie Rivet making up the band.
As evening rolls around, local band REWD with René Corriveau, Rich Allen filling in for Eric Lanoix, Willy Rivet and Dustin Rivet will play a set with regional music staples Ben Chabot and Michaela Cahill in a celebration of the Pontiac’s rich musical talents.
Following the collection of local artists, The Washboard Union will grace the main stage with their three-part harmony, unmistakable country music sound.
Made up of musicians Aaron Grain, Chris Duncombe and David Roberts, the band prides themselves on their unique sound. “Although they will still be called country,” the band’s website reads, “The Washboard Union will always sound exactly like who they are.”
With The Washboard Unions set having run its course, the one and only Country Junk - made up of Adam Hamelim, Gil Charron, Stephane Coulonde and Louis Lacelle - will finish the evening off strong at the beer tent from 10:30 p.m. until 12:30 a.m..
Sunday, September 3
As Sunday rolls around, local musicians Arnold Trudeau and Larry Chevrier will take to the beer tent from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m..
On Sunday evening, Phil Denault will take to the main stage with his band. A familiar face to many regulars at the Shawville Fair, having played the venue countless times before, Denault’s country music melodies are sure to speak to the Pontiac’s traditional love of the genre.
Headlining Sunday evening, The Reklaws – made up of siblings Jenna and Stuart Walker – will keep the evening’s country music theme rolling. Award winning country artists hailing from North Dumfries, Ontario, the up-and-coming duo represent a new era of Canadian country music.
Tying a bow on the top-notch musical entertainment over the weekend, Phil Denault and his band will play a second set at the beer tent from 10:30 p.m. until 12:30 p.m..
Whew. Sounds like an abundance of top-notch music packed into one magical weekend. Better get those tickets soon.

A fresh coat of paint and all kinds of new fun in store for this year’s Fair

Sophie Kuijper Dickson
August 21, 2023
Fair go-ers this year will be greeted with a fresh coat of paint – both literally, and by way of the handful of new activities and events happening throughout the five-day event.
Two summer students spent a good part of their summer sprucing up the bleachers and many of the fairground buildings with a new paint job.
Their hard work has set the perfect scene for this year’s new and improved schedule of events.
Papa Walks 4 Kids finish line
On Thursday night, Papa Walks 4 Kids is coming to Shawville Fair. Eighty-five year old Russel Mackay, also known as Papa, raised more than $120,000 for CHEO in 2020 by walking 125 kms from his home in Beachburg to Ottawa. Next week, he will continue his fundraising by walking from Portage du Fort to Shawville Fair, with stops in Fort Coulonge, Campbell’s Bay, Quyon, Otter Lake, Ladysmith, and Charteris before arriving at the Fair on Thursday evening, where a bagpiper will pipe him in to the opening ceremony. Mackay’s goal is to raise $25,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), of which he says $2,000 will come from his own pocket.
Pony rides
Four-legged creatures will also be doing some laps this year. The Fair will be offering free pony rides all weekend long.
“This is our way of keeping people in tune with animals and their ability to enjoy a more rural aspect of life,” said Mavis Hanna, general manager of the Pontiac Agricultural Society.
“Years ago, every person growing up had an uncle or grandpa or somebody living on the farm that gave them access to animals somewhere. Now, it isn’t the same way.”
You’ll find the pony rides just around the corner from the petting zoo. While the zoo, in and of itself, is not new this year, there will be a new farm that brings the wide variety of animals to the delight of children and adults alike, as the previous provider has retired.
Something new to
sink your teeth into
Mavis Hanna says that one of the best parts of her job is making the rounds of the Ottawa Valley food truck circuit to pick the vendors with the finest finger foods for the Fair.
This year, new vendors will include several barbecue options (think pulled pork), kettle corn, mini donuts, and what Hanna calls “a different take on a slushy.” Asked for more information on this last item, Hanna said we would just have to try it.
There will also be “blooming onions,” she said, which is essentially an entire onion cut open, battered and deep fried so it ends up looking like a flower, served with a dip in the middle. “Like onion rings but better,” Hanna said.
You could win a
screened gazebo
This year’s Fair will also feature a raffle for the first time. This new event was conceived last year when Crawford Sheds expressed interest in finding a way to support the Pontiac Agricultural Society.. This spring they donated a fully-screened gazebo – and it could be yours if you win the raffle.
Local businesses followed suit with donations to the raffle. Prizes include a lawnmower from Campbell’s Polaris, a four-piece wicker patio set from Donald S. Hodgins Installations, and $1,000 towards a set of four tires from Bristol Auto.
“I can’t believe how generous the community has been with the Shawville Fair Board, and I know the board thoroughly thanks everyone who has been kind enough to not only support this draw but all of our sponsorships too,” Hanna said. “They’re very giving each and every year, and we’re very appreciative of it.”


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