Changes for Haliburton County Fair
By Chad Ingram
The Haliburton County Fair will be condensed into one day and will be held in June rather than August this year.
The board for the fair, which is run by the Minden Agricultural Society, recently decided that in 2016 the event will take place on a single day on Saturday, June 11.
For decades the fair, traditionally a multi-day event, has taken place during the third weekend of August.
The decision was based on a number of factors including attendance, cost, the availability of volunteers and competing events.
“There wasn’t enough throughout the day,” organizer Anne Cox says of feedback from attendees. “They wanted to be entertained the whole time. That costs a lot of money.”
The budget for the fair is more than $50,000.
In recent years, events such as horse pulls, sheep shearing demonstrations, car shows and musical and children’s entertainment have been spread over two days.
While in the past the fair included some midway rides, “midways come based on [the number of] gates,” Cox says.
With attendance around 2,500, the Haliburton fair doesn’t garner the kind of traffic that makes midway rides feasible. Getting a single ferris wheel can cost $10,000.
In recent years, children’s attractions have included a rock-climbing wall and inflatable bouncy castle and slide.
A decline in the number of volunteers is also putting additional strain on existing volunteers.
“We’re getting old,” Cox says.
There has also been increasing competition from events inside and outside the county on the August weekend and it’s hoped that the June date will avoid some of these conflicts.
Cox says there will also be a renewed focus on the fair’s agricultural roots, bringing in more animals along with more farm-centric and educational activities.
The board’s annual general meeting will take place at the Minden United Church on Saturday, Jan. 23 beginning at 5 p.m. and anyone interested in getting involved with the fair or with new ideas for the event is welcome to attend. The cost is $20, which includes dinner.
Tickets can be purchased from Cox at 705-286-6155 or Wendy Connelly at 705-286-1225.
This year will mark the 152nd Haliburton County Fair.