Shawville Fair: It’s about our Country Community
Pontiac residents are proud of the Shawville Fair, to be held August 30th – September 3rd this year. Twenty-nine years after Eric and I moved to the region, friends still say, “Meet you at the Fair?” Regardless of whether we make a date with someone, when we go, we’re sure to meet folks we know.
That’s because the Shawville Fair is a community effort.
It provides an opportunity for local producers to strut their stuff: from cattle to chickens, chokecherry jelly to art, farmers through to artists, bakers, apiarists and a host of others proudly showcase their best.
What’s important to remember, for all of us, is that participation in this community event truly makes the fair. And, if you’re wondering how to participate in a livestock or the Homecraft, Horticulture and Produce classes, browse the fair’s website: shawvillefair.ca.
Once there, you’ll discover the list of livestock and other competitions. You’ll also find “Fairbooks” along the menu bar. Click on it to “find all the information that you require to be a part of our cattle, horse, poultry, rabbit, horticulture, homecraft or produce events and entries in our fair.”
Be quick about registering if you’re going to enter the livestock section: the closing entry date is August 10.
Something new for 2018 is that we can purchase tickets to the Shawville Fair online. You can order daily tickets or a weekend pass.
Now, we’ll all have our favourite events, that’s for sure. And without question, mine is the friendly competition in the Horticulture and Produce classes.
There’s the Food Division, with its baking section. This year, the Director’s Special (class #53) is the Queen Elizabeth II cake. The recipe is provided online (or in booklet form which you pick up at the Pontiac Agricultural Society’s office at the fairgrounds), therefore, the challenge available to all. Who will win? That’s for the judges to determine – and what a sweet responsibility that must be, tasting those entries…
Then there’s the Preserves and Pickles section, where we get can enter a variety of traditional-style country delights, from strawberry rhubarb jam to icicle pickles, to newer delicacies such as fruit salsa sauce.
And talking about sweet, apiarists and maple producers aren’t forgotten, where entries from beeswax to buckwheat honey to maple butter, fudge and syrup, are open.
Our region boasts many writers and authors, quiltmakers, photographers and visual artists who shine in a variety of genres. From the Pontiac Artists’ Association (artPontiac) to Get Art and the Artistes de la Rivière, many artists live and work here. This year, artPontiac is offering a special prize in the Decorative Painting as well as many other sections.
Continuing in the visual arts theme, let’s not forget our talented fibre artists: the quilters and traditional artisans. In the Quilt section, we can admire old-time patterns such as Log Cabin through to newer styles such as watercolour quilting. Meanwhile, in “Traditional Handicrafts” we can see embroidery, appliqued and other items.
What’s my favourite category?
Well I don’t know about you, but hands-down, my favourite is the Horticulture section. And, within that wonderful array of Cut Flower, Decorative Flower Designs and other competitions, there’s the unforgettable and yes, charming set of categories such as #70: Oddest Vegetable; and in the Junior Gardens section (exhibitors need to be ages 5-16 years old) #90 “A Siamese twin fruit or vegetable.”
Although one must be a Pontiac Agricultural Society member to enter most classes, an exception is made in Section 9. Membership is waived in the Special Exhibition for ages 2 to 4 for “#99: Any vegetable or fruit”, where the prize is $2.00 for each young exhibitor.
What a terrific way to encourage an interest in our region’s country traditions. Meet me at the Fair? I hope so! Thank-you, Pontiac Agricultural Society, for your hard work.
Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer, author and visual artist who will be participating in the Pontiac Gardens and Gifts Tour, August 4, 5. Check out this self-guided tour of 9 Pontiac gardens: gardensandgifts.blogspot.com
Photo: Ian Jackson