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JOURNAL LE HAUT-SAINT-FRANÇOIS / Actualité
Pierre Hébert Par Pierre Hébert
pierre@journalhsf.com

Mercredi, 27 août 2014

Cookshire Agricultural Fair



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The latest edition of the Cookshire Agricultural Fair was, for the organizers, not one to remember. Not because the programming didn't measure up, but because the wet weather during the whole weekend overshadowed the activities. The fair attracted only about half the visitors who usually attend.

"We don't know the exact numbers, but we had something like half as many visitors as we had last year," said Neil Burns, the fair's director. It seems obvious that the low traffic will have a financial impact on the Agricultural Fair. At the time of the interview, it was still too soon to determine if the event would have a deficit, and how much it would be. "I imagine that it will be pretty tight. I don't think it will be easy to prepare next year's fair, but we'll do it with our volunteers." Burns admitted the organizers were disappointed. "Everybody is disappointed. To organize the event, everybody, all the volunteers, worked hard. Whether it rains or not, it's the same amount of work. It's hard on the morale, but we'll be there next year. This won't keep us from coming back," he said with conviction and optimism.

How the fair turned out

If the activities and the judging all took place as planned on Friday and Saturday, that wasn't the case on Sunday, which proved to be catastrophic. "On Saturday, we already had half as many people as other years." Because of the rain and conditions that made it dangerous for animals to move around, the organizers had to cancel the traditional and popular parade, as well as all the classes of horses planned for Sunday. Even the exhibitors closed up shop at 2 p.m. instead of the usual 6 p.m. "There weren't many visitors. At noon, we decided to stop asking people to pay a fee at the entrance," said Burns. He's been participating in the fair for many years, and he said he couldn't remember a situation like this in the history of the event.

If Sunday turned out to be nightmarish, the days that preceded it satisfied the brave visitors who came. The quality of the animals exhibited, the preparation for the judging, the small animals, the animal auction, and the pavilion full of artisan kiosks and other treasures, all made the visit worthwhile. The musical groups inside the McAuley Centre offered what was needed to entertain and warm up the visitors. Saturday afternoon, a number of parents took advantage of a short sunny spell to take their children to have fun in the midway. Judging from the children's faces, it seemed the weather had little impact on the pleasure they had. The visitors encountered during the fair said they were disappointed by the weather, but not by the activities, and they promised to come back next year.


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