WINDSOR, N.S. — The organizing committee behind the annual Hants County Exhibition strives to provide entertainment for all ages and judging by this year’s line up, they’ve got their bases covered.
The 253rd Hants County Exhibition runs two weekends — Sept. 14-16 and Sept. 21-23 — and there’s no shortage of things to do.
Lisa Hines, the acting manager of the Hants County Exhibition and president of the Windsor Agricultural Society, said approximately 31,000 people passed through the exhibition gates in 2017, and they’re hopeful this year will draw in a similar crowd.
Hines said they’ve been diligently planning this year’s festival, which is North America's Oldest Agricultural Fair.
“We have two great weekends planned,” she said.
Green Diamond Equipment Kid Zone
Hines said they’ve created a new area designed for children where they will feature 4-H and local school exhibits as well as fun, family-friendly events.
The Domino Man, Bill Oakey, will be set up during the first weekend, showcasing elaborate domino stunts. For the Sept. 21-23 weekend, Mad Science will showcase amazing feats of chemistry.
Nova Scotia Hop Hops, a rabbit agility group, will be on site Sept. 15-16, with several performances set.
Little green tractor pulls will take place both weekends, with competitions for children ages four to nine years.
Hines said the first weekend is always set aside for 4-H projects, and she said she hopes having the exhibits located in the kid zone will encourage youth to learn more about the organization. Throughout the weekend, 4-H members will also participate in a variety of skills competitions, showcasing what they learned over the year. The majority of the events, such as the livestock showmanship events, will be held in the bovine ring while some, such as a cake decorating competition, will be held on the harvest stage in the O’Brien Building.
“It’s a great weekend to get your kids out to see what other kids are doing and really celebrate 4-H,” said Hines.
The harvest pavilion has moved to the O’Brien Building this year, showcasing arts, crafts and homecrafts. Another change this year is having local beer, cider and spirits located in the food court, which Hines hopes will be a success for the vendors.
First weekend highlights
The first weekend of the Hants County Exhibition is what Hines calls the pulling weekend.
The Maritime Fuels Horse Pull kicks things off on Sept. 14 at 4:30 p.m.
“We’ve got ox pulls throughout the weekend,” she added, with a tandem ox pull taking place at 9 p.m. on Sept. 15, and the championship ox pull at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 16 to finish off the event.
The always-popular demolition derby will be held Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. near the waterslide.
Tug of war has been switched to a new day and time, with the final competitions being held around 3:40 p.m. on Sept. 16.
“We’ve got five men’s teams coming, which is great, and two women’s (tug of war teams),” Hines said.
The XL Truck clean shoot will take place on Sept. 15 at 8:15 p.m. Hines said the event will be based on a reenactment of historic shooting events that would have been held at wild west shows in the 19th century.
“It’s a timed event. They’ve got targets to shoot. Their scores are going to be based on their time and their marksmanship,” said Hines, noting it will feature horses, fast action and the smell of gunpowder.
“That’s going to be a fun and loud event.”
Second weekend highlights
The second weekend sees the return of the Classic Heritage Beef Show. The event celebrates farmers’ efforts in raising livestock. It’s anticipated more than 250 head will be on display.
The Hants County Exhibition is also bringing back the Oland & Son Intertownship Team Jumping silver platter. The platter, which features familiar names from the 1960s, will be inscribed with the 2018 winners of the Hants County Jumper Challenge, which takes place Sept. 21 at 8 p.m.
The GFL Hillbilly Dash 4 Cash is an event Hines says people of all ages won’t want to miss.
Taking place in the main arena on Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m., the event features a partner carrying competition and a variety of races that challenge teams of two to work together.
Last year, Evan Chambers and Brittni Milligan, donning inflatable T-Rex costumes, competed in the challenge and left the audience in stitches.
“I don’t know if the dinosaurs will come back but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the arena so full of laughter. People were laughing until they cried,” said Hines, noting they’ve already had five or six teams enter.
As there are prizes for best costume, she’s hoping people will step up and compete. The cost to enter is $30.
Like last year, there’s also a corporate challenge.
Fitness Junkies won the corporate prize and took home the inaugural Golden Boot. That trophy is once again up for grabs.
Other must see/do events
Hines said Under the Canopy: Animals of the Rainforest is a must-see exhibit. Located in the tent behind the O’Brien Building, Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo is hosting the fun, interactive eco-education exhibit both weekends. There will be displays, presentations and the opportunity to meet a Brazilian three-banded armadillo and a sloth.
Back by popular demand will be goat yoga. Hines said they will be using small goats this year, learning from last year’s event, and The Yoga Hen will return to teach the afternoon sessions on Sept. 22-23.
The pet parade will also be coming back. The event, which was revived last year, will be held Sept. 23 at 11 a.m. in the O’Brien courtyard. Children are encouraged to don costumes, bring their favourite pet, and go on parade.
Live music will also fill the air on Sept. 22, with an afternoon of country planned.
Hines said Keith Ross will be celebrating the music of Texas at 2 p.m. and then Soldier's Creek will play at 4:30 p.m.
If You Go
What: 253rd Hants County Exhibition
When: Sept. 14-16; Sept. 21-23, 2018
Where: 221-239 Wentworth Rd., Windsor
To view a full schedule of events or learn more about specific events, visit the Hants County Exhibition’s Facebook or Instagram pages or visit www.hantscountyex.com.