By Jerelyn Craden
The Kinmount Fair is coming back after a two year pause due to the pandemic, and its new theme is history-making: Celebrating 150 years.
“Thirteen fairs [throughout Ontario] have dissolved over the past few years,” said Guy Scott, president of the Kinmount Agricultural Improvement Society and author of the new book, The Story of Kinmount Fair, 1872 – 2021. “But this year, restrictions are going to be lifted and come hell or high water, we’re planning to open on September 2 to 4, Labour Day weekend.”
As one of the larger Ontario fairs, the Kinmount Fair averages 20,000 plus visitors each year. As a fair board director, Scott said, “We have one goal and that’s to get as many people to come to our fair as possible. There are so many new people in town and this whole COVID thing is drawing more people away from the cities. A lot of older people are saying that it’s time they came back to the fair. It’s like that old Joni Mitchell lyric: You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
Celebrating 150 years, visitors can experience a visual retrospective of the fair in the pioneer complex. “We’re gathering photographs and artifacts and, believe it or not, we’re planning to have a Kinmount Fair Film Festival,” said Scott. “We have gathered up so many film documentaries about our fair, including one eight-millimetre film that Keith Stata (Highlands Cinemas) made back in the 1960s.”
This year, the Kinmount Fair will look as close to the 2019 fair as possible.
“We have horses and livestock and a home craft exhibit. And all of the animal shows,” said Scott. “We have a parade like we’ve always had. And stage shows. Kids can pet rabbits and goats. We have dog and horse shows, and heavy horses. And a little bit of the newer stuff like wildlife shows which are educational, mostly for young kids who love to carry and pet the skunk.”
He happily added: “Nobody got sprayed.”
As in past years, there will be a kiddie land and an adult land with age-appropriate rides. “We are going to have the traditional parade and a live band for evening dances in the arena. About 1,600 people take part in that,” said Scott. “We also have a country video dance planned.”
As for the ever-popular trailer park adjoining the fairgrounds (with 600 spaces), it is almost filled to capacity. “We have a policy where we let people buy their site this year for the next year,” said Scott. “Most of them have been coming for a long time. They have their little groupings, like villages, with their own little social clubs. They must be enjoying themselves because they keep coming back.”
After looking at hundreds of photos from past Kinmount Fairs, Scott, who is a history teacher, was most impressed with the obvious fun that the kids were having.
“There’s so much to see and do.”
The Kinmount Fair is a landmark rural experience where life-long memories are made.
For more information go to: www.kinmountfair.net