Fair ambassador prepares for CNE competition
By Chad Ingram
Last year’s Kinmount Fair ambassador is ramping up for the ambassador competition at this summer’s Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.
Growing up and living in Bobcaygeon until he moved away to attend university, John Dewhurst told the Times he was always fascinated with the Bobcaygeon Fair.
“It was something I looked forward to as a kid,” says the 22-year-old, who just completed an undergraduate degree in mathematics at the University of Waterloo and is set to undertake graduate studies in math at the University of Guelph this fall. While when he was younger he was attracted mostly to the entertainment and the midway, “As I got older, I came to appreciate more of the livestock stuff,” he says. While Dewhurst doesn’t have an agricultural background himself, agriculture is something he’s come to learn more about in recent years.
His inaugural visit to the Kinmount Fair was about five years ago, and he was impressed at the scope of its offerings.
“It’s quite large for being in such a small town,” Dewhurst says. Taking place each Labour Day Weekend, the Kinmount Fair is one of the largest fairs in the province, attracting thousands upon thousands of visitors each year.
Since that first visit, Dewhurst has become a volunteer with the fair, helping with a number of programs. He also helped fair organizers to come up with the fair’s new website.
“During the fair, I’m on the ground, helping,” he says.
Dewhurst was the lone entrant in last year’s Kinmount Fair ambassador contest, essentially being acclaimed to the role.
“They didn’t have any interest in their ambassador program,” he says, adding he thinks that’s too bad, since the experience allows an opportunity to work on one’s public speaking, as well as make connections with people around the province. Dewhurst also notes that contestants need not necessarily be residents of Kinmount, and that the local competition includes a larger area encapsulating areas such as Fenelon Falls and Bobcaygeon.
“It’s a pretty big geographic area,” he says.
As part of being the ambassador for the Kinmount Fair, Dewhurst gets to attend a convention by the Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies, in addition to his appearance at the CNE. The agricultural competition at this year’s exhibition runs Aug. 16 to 18.
Contestants must give a one-minute speech, choosing from a list of topics they are presented with, as well as an “elevator speech,” promoting themselves and the reasons why they should be made CNE ambassador. They are also interviewed by a panel of judges.
Such competitions are traditionally populated largely with female contestants, and Dewhurst is asked if he believes being one of the few male competitors – there are three in this year’s CNE, he says – might give him some kind of advantage.
“It certainly is something, you don’t see as many of them,” he says, but adds he thinks it bears no real advantage and that ultimately, it comes down to the answers participants give the judges. “I wish everyone luck that’s going.”