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Monday, October 12, 2015

Norfolk County Fair in Simcoe is one of the country's oldest

   One-Tank Trip for Oct. 3/15

   By Jim Fox

  Hi ho, come to the fair.
   If you’re old enough to remember – or have heard the stories – fall fairs were long-awaited annual gatherings for fun, fellowship and to celebrate our agricultural roots.
   The tradition continues and is especially entrenched at the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show in Simcoe.
Monstrous-sized veggies are on view at the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show. (Jim Fox photo)
   They do it up right. After all, the fair has been around for 175 years, so it must be good.
   It’s one of Ontario’s oldest fairs (there are several claims to which one is the oldest) and fourth largest event of its kind in the province, attracting more than 100,000 visitors.

   Go back in time and find out what an old-fashioned visit to the fair is all about from next Tuesday (Oct. 6) to Oct. 12.
   It’s a winner, earning a “Top 100 event designation through Festivals and Events of Ontario and is one of the top fairs in the country according to the Canadian Association of Fairs and Exhibitions,” said publicist Wendy Brick.
   One of those traditions is veggies – really big veggies – a vegetarian delight.
They grow them big for the Norfolk County Fair (Jim Fox photo)
   This is the place to see produce growers competing for the coveted show ribbons and claim bragging rights to pumpkins weighing upwards of 500 kilograms.
   Marking the fair’s agriculture and rural roots are more than 10,000 entries competing in grain crops, fruit, vegetables, floral arrangements, culinary arts, handmade quilts and crafts.
   And, not forgetting a wide variety of animals along with the largest outdoor horse show in Canada.
   There is harness racing, an open western horse show, antique buggy classes, pony classes and jumpers on view.
   The grandstand features “some extraordinary Canadian talent” along with perennial fair favourites such as demolition derbies, monster truck shows and tractor pulls.
   Highlighted performers on the grandstand stage are pop rock band Marianas Trench on Oct. 9 and country superstar Brett Kissel on Oct. 10, both at 8 p.m.
Horsing around at the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show.
   George Araujo, general manager, said the fair is “so happy” those coveted performers are coming to “raise the roof for this big birthday party.”
   The fair also features the requisite midway with a roller coaster, Ferris wheel, cotton candy, food and “games of skill.”
   Anniversary treats
   One of the events to mark the big birthday will be a “spectacular laser light show” each night after the grandstand show.
   Norfolk County Laser Rock is on Friday while Country Laser Norfolk is on the Saturday lighting up the night sky.
   “Party on the Track” was a great success last year and is being extended for both the grandstand shows.
   Premium seating is available on the track for $30 while new general admission (standing) on the track is $20.
   This will be a licensed area and only available to track patrons while grandstand seating is free with paid admission to the fair.
The midway is a busy place at night at the Norfolk County Fair. (Barbara Fox photo)
   Gates open at 6:30 p.m. with “your favourite brews and wines,” and surprise track level entertainment that was such a hit last year,” Araujo said.
   There will also be an exclusive 175th Anniversary Harvest Dinner, a ticketed event at $100, on Tuesday.
   The dinner includes a VIP package with free admission to the fair, parking, drink tickets and a special presentation of gourmet local harvest food, beverages and desserts.
A young rider having fun at the 1954 Norfolk County Fair.
   This is followed by a private concert by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, Rick Derringer and Joey Molland of Badfinger.
   The rest of the week, the Rec Centre will host bands and it’s licensed and open to all ages with food, snacks and refreshments.

   If you go:
   The Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show is at 172 South Drive in Simcoe.
   All attractions and shows are included in admission to the fair.
   Admission prices are $11, Tuesday to Thursday; $13, Friday to Monday for ages 14 plus;  free for students ages six to 13 on Tuesday, Young Canada Day, and $6, Wednesday to Monday; and free, to age five.
   Seniors aged 60 plus are $7 on Wednesday; and $25, Family Day, Oct. 11, for two adults and children to age 13. Discounts are available on-line before opening. Parking is $7. No pets allowed.
   Details: norfolkcountyfair.com; (519) 426-7280. For a list of fairs: ontariofairs.com


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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