David Coombes, right, and his daughter, Lisa Hines, are both heavily involved with the Hants County Exhibition; Coombes has been the fair manager for more than 50 years and Hines is the current president of the Windsor Agricultural Society.
©Carole Morris-Underhill file photo
WINDSOR, N.S. — The president of the Windsor Agricultural Society is almost giddy when describing some of the exciting new events that will be coming to town this fall.
Lisa Hines said they've worked hard to make the Hants County Exhibition — which is the oldest agricultural fair in North America — both educational and entertaining.
“I think we've got a great program – something for everyone,” said Hines.
“We're trying to keep it community-based.”
The annual September fair will be spread out over two weekends, Sept. 15-17 and Sept. 22-24.
“We're building on the success of the Redneck Olympics that we had a few years ago. We've created a new event,” said Hines, referring to the Hillbilly Challenge, which will take place Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. People interested in participating must sign up before Sept. 16.
The Hillbilly Challenge will have three different categories: general, student and corporate.
During the previous Redneck Olympics, the audience was often left in stitches as competitors raced to the finish line. Hines anticipates the revamped event will be even better.
“They have to do a square dance — it can be as rehearsed as they want it to be, or it can be pretty free rein — and then they have to stack some hay on a wheelbarrow and push it through a little course,” said Hines. “Then they have to ride the bouncy horses, which is more challenging than it sounds too, and then partner carry through the finish line.”
Another event that Hines said is sure to leave an impression on visitors is Goat Yoga.
“That is another one that is generating quite a lot of noise because people aren't quite sure of what to make of it,” she said.
“Basically, it's pretty unscripted. As I understand it, it's a yoga class in an enclosed area with goats. Goats are quite curious and friendly so I'm sure a lot of interesting interactions will happen between the yogis and the goats.”
There will be two opportunities to take part in the special yoga event: Sept. 23 and 24 at 3 p.m. Hines said participants just require their own mat.
Educational component highlighted
Hines said one of the key things they like to do is make sure the exhibition provides not only fun, but a chance to learn as well.
As such, there will be a venue dedicated to green, sustainable living.
“We are building on the local food and sustainability aspect of the venue,” said Hines.
“We're trying to help people learn about sustainability and energy efficiency.”
The first weekend will focus on pickling and preserving, while the second weekend will showcase cheese making and homesteading.
There will be a passive house display, which is designed to use up to 80 per cent less energy than a regular home, located at the exhibition.
“You can walk through it and learn about how to save money and save energy and be better green citizens,” said Hines.
A tasting tent exclusively featuring Nova Scotia beers, ciders, wines and spirits will be held in the afternoon on both Saturdays and Sundays. Sample size drink tickets can be purchased for $2 each.
The Future Farmers Friday school event will take place on the first day of the exhibition and will welcome about 600 students, teachers and chaperones from Windsor Forks, Falmouth, Dr. Arthur Hines, Hantsport and Three Mile Plains elementary schools. The event serves as an opportunity for children to learn about agriculture, the environment, 4-H, and the community.
“This is an actual learning event. It's not just a trip to the exhibition. They're learning about keeping bees, for example, and energy efficiency and growing sweet potatoes and they're learning about composting,” said Hines.
The first weekend is known as 4-H weekend, where youths from across the county compete and show off what they've learned. They will have a station at the Future Farmers Friday event, which Hines said will be beneficial for the club.
“It's a nice boost for 4-H because those kids are potential members. It gives the 4-H members and the 4-H clubs an opportunity to really showcase what they're doing.”
Drawing on nostalgia
The exhibition will play host to an event that was once quite popular.
Hines said they are bringing back the pet parade. It will be held Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. in the courtyard. Check-in time is 12:15 p.m. There's free admission for each participating child (with pet – of any kind) and one adult. Like in previous years, costumes are encouraged.
“Most of us were in the pet parade or our kids were in the pet parade – or both,” said Hines.
Keith Ross is presenting a country music show featuring songs from the glory years, 1930s to 1970s, on Sept. 23 at 2 p.m. Live local concerts are still a staple of the exhibition.
The Classic Heritage Beef Show returns to the exhibition and will feature about 250 head of cattle.
“It's the biggest beef show east of Quebec,” said Hines.
Other events that are traditionally held, like the demolition derby and truck and tractor pull, are also still taking place. For a complete line up of what's happening, Hines said people should visit their Facebook page or pick up a brochure.