January 21st, 2018
2017 was a good year for the Chesterville and District Agricultural Society. It was wonderful to see more people getting involved, and this seems to be a continuing trend. Increased participation from the community brings more ideas.
We stepped up our fundraising this past year. With three raffle draws and the addition of some 50/50 draws in 2017, we were able to get our bleachers spruced up (with the help of some great volunteers), upgraded lighting in the main portion of the exhibit hall, and installed an outdoor light by the exhibit hall. These raffles are specifically for grounds improvements and repairs and there is always something in need of repair. We also applied for, and received a grant from SDG Tourism. We hope to be taking advantage of other grant opportunities as they become available. A new opportunity for us, we were happy to be able to help with setting up a BBQ at Art on the Waterfront. Our volunteers had a blast and we look forward to helping out again in 2018.
The rain was certainly a challenge last year. Our Western Horse show was cancelled because of the wet ring. Some of the midway vehicles became stuck in the soft ground. Even the Hunter Horse show rind needed to be moved to higher ground.
We were one of the lucky Fairs tough, in that we had a beautiful weekend! The usual attractions – Truck Pull, Demo Derby (which was under new contract), and the Tractor pull – were well attended. Although we were not able to hold a Goat show last year, we were able to bring back the Poultry Show (thank you Rylee) and the Hunter Horse Show, which were hits with the spectators. The riders in the Hunter Horse show were so pleased with the setup, that we are looking at the possibility of offering and expanded Horse show schedule with dates throughout the summer. The youth beef show rounded out our animal offerings with another successful show.
Again we were able to offer wifi on the grounds and we are looking forward to continuing our partnership with Storm Internet Services. Homecraft entries were down a bit last year, but this was a trend with other fairs as well, and we hope that exhibitors will be back in full force in 2018.
We were thrilled to host the year end Demolition Derby of Ontario Demolition Derby in October. We moved our Barn Dance event to the same weekend rather than hold 2 separate events. What a great day it was! We are delighted to be hosting this event again in 2018!
We held a logo contest late in the year, which saw 4 submissions. Congratulations to our winners, Kelsey and Destiny!
Our New Year’s Eve Gala closed out our 2017 schedule of events. This formal fundraising event was something new for us. Although we were hoping for a sellout, those who attended were very pleased with the event and hope that we do something again in 2018.
A lot has been learned this past year – both good and bad – and we are looking forward to the opportunities that await us in 2018. In the end, it all boils down to the people – our volunteers, our sponsors, our patrons. What I noticed most were the smiles, the laughter, the hugs – seeing someone you may not have seen for a while, sharing time with your friends. Great things happen when our community comes together, and we are proud to be a part of this great community!
Carol Johnson, President
Chesterville & District Agricultural Society