It’s a landmark year for the Barrie Fair. The 165th exhibition pulls out all the stops with lots of highlights, new and returning favourites and a new logo.
“We are having a few things to highlight (the anniversary),” said general manager Ryan Johnson, who also noted changes to the corn maze, which will be accessible this year from inside the fairgrounds. “With the growing season this year, it’s been planted earlier so we expect to have quite a high maze so adults, everyone can participate.”
More spectacle will be added to the evenings at the fairgrounds, which undergo a change in schedule for some and a new event. Thursday, for example, is the local tractor pull whereas Friday and Saturday evening features the Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pulling Association (OTTPA) event. The OTTPA professionals, part of a circuit, bring larger vehicles to the fair to compete for prize money and points.
A full garden-tractor pull takes to the track Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a change, this year, to cater to families who may prefer to attend during the day. For participants, it’s an opportunity for some of the youth to compete in a smaller event with less pressure.
New this year, the Barrie Fair is running its very first demolition derby on Sunday. Cars and mini-vans complete for the specially-designed trophy.
“We looking to connect back with the community, meeting their needs and hoping to grow it for years to come,” said Johnson, adding that local business has contributed time and money to help make it happen.
This year’s entertainment includes a wide variety of live music acts. Local and well-known individuals and groups from across Ontario as well as returning acts such as the Circus Jonathan, Mr. Spaghetti Legs and Dan the Music Man are slated to perform. The K9 Dog Agility Show, a big hit at last year’s fair, moves to three shows per day.
In keeping with the roots of the fair, there is a focus on livestock – shows of beef and dairy cattle, rabbits and poultry, goats and sheep with more than $65,000 in prize money up for grabs. Friday features the 4H youth.
Equally important is the educational aspect and all of the barns are dedicated to it, from tractors to livestock, food, and information about farm life. There is also a homecrafts section which includes baking, canning, needlework, photography, crafting, fine art, and gardening.
“Also, there will be a draft horse showcase,” said Johnson. “In recent years it has been separate from the fair but this will allow people to see it – not a full show like the beginning of August but with horses and wagons and there will be interacting (Q&A) with the trainers and owners.”
Lastly, the fair wouldn’t be complete without the popular midway. The 165th edition of the Barrie Fair runs from Aug. 23-26 at the Essa Agriplex, 7505 10th Line, Thornton. Visit essaagriplex.ca for more information.
Photo: The Barrie Fair has created a new logo to celebrate 165 years. It takes place Aug. 23-26.