The Wellesley Fall Fair is hitting a major milestone next week with its 170th edition.
After years of hybrid events and a modified fair last September, the tradition is set to return in full, said secretary-treasurer Mary Lichty-Neeb.
“When you start planning these events 10-11 months in advance, you don’t know, especially coming through COVID, what the situation was going to be, so our directors believed it was best to go modified last year. I know a lot of fairs came back full and that was wonderful. We just had concerns so we stayed modified. But this year we’re back to full fair, and we’re excited,” Lichty-Neeb said.
As a midweek fair it does not offer some attractions that other fairs do such as a midway or a demolition derby, however it is the longevity of the event that sets it apart, she noted.
“For a volunteer organization to have continued to operate for our 170th is I would think a pretty big deal. You look around at some of the other organizations which are much younger – we’ve been able to carry on the tradition that was started in 1854 promoting agriculture in the community by doing education.”
This year, that includes the return of the dairy education program for Grade 3 students on Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The students will learn from a dairy farmer how the milk is produced, learn how milk gets from the farm to the grocery store and see both live cows and a mechanical cow. This program usually draws between 125 and 250 students each year.
Also back this year is the fair ambassador program, with candidates Katelyn Bartlett, Katie Musselman and Anas Alsakani. That program, which started in 1968, has seen many changes over the years, Lichty-Neeb said.
“At that point it was called the Harvest Queen and was only open to females. Over the years it’s definitely changed to being a leadership program. The ambassadors do a workshop on preparing a speech, they learn how to do an impromptu speech, so there’s a lot of benefits to it,” she said.
The ambassador contest winner will be announced on Tuesday when the fair kicks off at the Wellesley arena at 7 p.m.
There will be several entertainment options at the fair this year, including the parade that starts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Making its long anticipated return will be an axe-throwing booth running on Wednesday from 3:30-7:30 p.m. The event made its debut at the 2019 fair, but had to be cut short due to weather.
New this year will be a performance from the Cutting Edge Cowgirls drill team out of Mitchell, which follows the parade at 7 p.m. on the baseball diamonds.
Hoping to continue to grow going forward, the fair committee is always looking for volunteers, Lichty-Neeb said.
[We need] volunteers for days before, during and after the fair. We’ve made it to the 170th but we need new people who are ready to step up on our board of directors so that we can work as a group to move forward and build on this big success and just to continue on….Plus new people bring new ideas.”
More information can be found online at www.wellesleynehfallfair.ca.