By Chad Ingram
Published Jan. 26 2017
The Haliburton County Fair has some new directors for its board and the 153-year-old event will proceed once again this summer at the Minden fairgrounds.
As reported previously in the Times earlier this year members of the fair board were questioning whether it was time to discontinue the long-standing fair.
Recent years have seen declining turnout for the fair and with about half the board’s members stepping aside this year it was in desperate need of new directors in order to continue.
“2016 was probably one of our best fairs we’ve had in a long time” board secretary Anne Cox told the room at the Minden Agricultural Society’s annual general meeting at the Minden United Church on Jan. 21. “The feedback we’ve been getting from a number of individuals . . . people liked that we changed the date.”
While the fair has traditionally been held over a weekend in August last year it took place on a single day a Saturday in June.
“Some of the directors were very involved in getting schools involved” Cox said adding that there was more interactive programming geared to children.
And it worked.
Attendance was up from the previous year. The society’s financial report showed more than $10600 in gate admissions for 2016 compared to about $9500 for 2015.
The agricultural society has more than $28000 in its bank account.
“I can’t remember the last time we had that much” said treasurer Jane Leavis.
That’s about double the $16000 and change the society had going into last year and Leavis said reducing the fair to one day certainly played a role in that.
While it used to require 12 the fair board’s constitution now requires a minimum of seven members. Heading into Saturday’s meeting it had five.
“We’re hoping we can solicit some interest from at least two individuals so we can keep the fair going” Cox said. “We have had a number of individuals say they want to step up they want to help they just don’t want to sit on the board.”
Cox was successful in finding three new volunteers for the board bringing its population to eight.
“What this allows is a quorum for a board and the fair will live another year!” she said as attendees applauded.
Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin was in attendance and said the township would do what it could to help support the fair.
“It’s a home run tonight” Devolin said. “You are valuable to our county.”
Moving forward one idea is to create a number of sub-committees so that board members aren’t doing so much work.
“So maybe everybody’s doing a little bit instead of a few people doing a lot” Cox said.
Planning for the 2017 fair is already underway and some new additions being suggested are a baseball tournament a craft beer festival and mounted games.
Like last year the fair will be held on single day in June.