by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams
It’s strange, Judi and I lived in rural Lakefield for a few years and have visited the area and the Village of Lakefield for over 25 years, but never visited the Lakefield Fair or its fairgrounds!
Even stranger, my family (Grandfather) grew up in Lakefield and his family, at one time, were the Village’s carriage makers. Although I have no proof, the McWilliams’ family were likely involved with the Lakefield Fair, right from the beginning. So, this year Judi and I decided to change history and visit the Fair! Actually, we had heard all about the Lakefield Fair from one of its organizers, Carol Taylor. We had been communicating with Carol for a few years, trying to help she and her fellow volunteers promote the Fair and their other Agricultural Society project, the Lakefield Jamboree.
To the Fair…
After travelling north to Lakefield and then locating the fairgrounds, we set out to find Carol.
One of the volunteers pointed to the direction of the horse show ring. This where, we were told, Carol was likely stationed. Carol was there and after a quick “hello” and “introduction“, she told us to follow her, because the opening ceremonies were about to start, and she was late!
We followed her to to the other side of the fairgrounds to where the ceremonies were to take place. Here we were introduced to a number of dignitaries and then the ceremonies began. As part of the ceremonies, each potential “Fair Ambassador” (there were two) had to tell the audience why he/she should be chosen as the Ambassador.
The first to speak was a young lady who spoke about her passion for farming and the Fair. Her speech was very well received. The second contestant, a young man, talked about a similar passion for farming and the Fair.
The main difference was that the young man was “enrolled” in a “communications” course in college. The judges, volunteers from other Fair Boards, had a difficult time choosing the winner, however, they chose the young man mainly because of his future in “communications“. Both contestants congratulate done another and the girl seemed to be genuinely pleased for the young man. After all, why not, he was her cousin! Hopefully next year she will re-enter and this time be chosen to become the new Fair Ambassador!
After the ceremonies were over, we left Carol to explore the fairgrounds.
Enjoying the Fair…
What Judi and I enjoyed the most was the accessibility to the Fair activities. Everything was “up close and personal“! This was especially true of the cattle show ring.
The animals and their handlers were so close, that we could almost touch them. Personally, I think that is one of the “joys” of smaller fairs. It’s almost like you are a participant!
After the show ring, we explored the remainder of the Lakefield Fair and enjoyed all it had to offer!
As Judi and I walked the grounds, I pictured my ancestors doing the same thing, so many years before!
Who knows, they might even have won a Fair “Ribbon” or two!