West Niagara Ag. Society ready for inaugural Fair Sept. 10-13
By Katherine Grant
Richardson Hall at the West Niagara Agricultural Society Fairgrounds combines the best of traditions of the past and the vision for the future of local agriculture.
With a red and white barn-like facade, the hall’s 24,000 square feet will be ready to welcome the first visitors to the inaugural West Niagara Agricultural Society’s Fair, now just four weeks away.
Albert Witteveen, ag society president and its new general manager spends much of his time at the site. The grounds have been well mapped out to make the best of the space for the fair.
The two main buildings are being readied for the return of old favourites plus some exciting new additions to the lineup.
“The helicopter rides will use this area for a landing pad,” he says motioning to an area in a north-east corner of the parking area outside Richardson Hall. “And the stone for the midway is arriving today.”
Richardson Hall will serve as livestock show space for the fair. Large bay doors and an adjacent wash area will provide a smooth and practical egress.
“There is a big cistern beneath the wash area and the animals can be taken inside to finish grooming,” said Witteveen.
The hall has a concession space with indoor and outdoor access windows. Washrooms are immediately inside the main door.
To the south of the hall is the livestock building which this year will provide display space for the homecraft division.
A walk between the two large buildings leads to the midway area west of the hall.
“World’s Finest came to the table to help out with our first year,” said Witteveen, adding all-day ride passes will be available for $15.
Alongside the midway will be the food alley, divided by a 700-foot strip of mulch.
Visitors to the fair are asked to use Grimsby Road 10 to enter the parking area located on the south-west corner of the property.
There will be shuttles to carry people from the parking area to the fairgrounds, said Witteveen.
The beer tent and more display area will be found west of the midway. Two horse rings are located behind the livestock building.
A full program has been designed for the four-day fair and will include demolition derbies, lots of entertainment and fireworks on Saturday night at dusk.
“Bring your lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy some music under the stars while watching the fireworks,” said Witteveen.
Two Fat Guys from the Ontario Pork Association will be doing cooking demonstrations as well.
Although it has been a long time coming, the complex was worth the wait and the best is yet to come, said Witteveen who, in his new role of GM for the site, will be tasked with marketing it to organizations to utilize the site throughout the year.
The complex lends itself to many possibilities, the most important of which are those involving the communities it serves.
For example, a storm water pond on the east side of the property could be used for ice skating in winter complete with hot chocolate and food trucks, said Witteveen.
The community hall will have a more formal, huge banquet area as well as meeting rooms and a full kitchen.
It could be used for everything from 4-H groups to home and garden shows and much more.
“I already have a few caterers I am working with,” said Witteveen.