Getting an early jump on the fall-fair season, the Drayton Mapleton Agricultural Society offers up its popular event August 11-13. The Drayton Fair features a variety of vibrant activities, including a truck and tractor pull, animal shows and horticultural competitions.
Agriculture shows, a petting zoo and a host of children’s activities ensure that the Drayton Fair has something for everyone, says ag. society president John Klaassen.
On the schedule Friday and Saturday nights, the truck and tractor pulls are the big draws, helping to sustain the 167-year-old event and funding other events.
“We’ve been very fortunate in that way in the support we get from our attendees and our competitors.… Our people putting the show on, they’ve done a terrific job, and we’ve built this up over the years now. It’s a tractor pull that’s quite comparable to some of the best in the province. We really started to get a name for it,” he said.
Divided up into several categories, the tractor and truck pulls will start with local competitors on August 11 at 6 p.m. Professionals from the Ontario Truck and Tractor Pulling Association will be centre stage on August 12, also at 6 p.m.
While the tractor pull is the main draw, there is more to the three-day celebration, Klaassen said.
The demolition derby is another popular offering. There are also the animal shows (beef, dairy, goat and sheep) and plant shows (vegetables, horticulture and hay).
“My main thing is to see the cattle and see the agriculture part of it, the hay and grain and just the competition in that regard, and really want to build on that. So we’re probably going to start looking and we have been increasing prizes to try to get more [entrants]. We feed the world here, and that needs to be exhibited and celebrated.”
The competitions also help participants relate to where their food comes from, he added.
“They can see what farmers do. It’s amazing how much food we grow here. We’re really fortunate to live here, really, and some of that gets lost.”
The vegetable show has grown since he first joined the fair 20 years ago, Klaassen said.
“[That show] when I was growing my garden that’s what got me into it. My brother brought stuff, I bought stuff. At that time, it was a one-table display – two hands, you can pretty much count the competitors that brought stuff. It’s just grown, and we’ve got five or six tables full of stuff now.”
As a small fair, it can be hard for Drayton to compete with other outdoor events, Klaassen explained. The organizing committee is trying to include more activities for kids to try to attract more visitors during non-peak day hours. This year the fair has added a corn maze, an escape room and magic shows at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.
There is also a need to get younger people involved as volunteers, Klaassen said.
“People just don’t have time. When you get into your 40s and 50’s, you’ve got a little extra time for that. For these fairs to thrive, we’ve got to get young people involved and find a way to do that and I’m not exactly sure what we’ve done, but our youngest director is 23 years old….Just this year alone, we’ve attracted three new directors all under 40; that’s just terrific,
The Drayton Fair goes from August 11-13. Tickets for each day range from $10-15 for adults while a full weekend pass is $35 a weekend pass for kids is $5. For details, visit www.draytonfair.ca.