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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Let's go to The Ex, fall fairs, air show

   One-Tank Trip for Aug. 20/21 2011
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Dare I mention that four-letter word while we’re still having summer fun?
   Well, “fall” is just around the corner as summer races along and it will soon be time for season-altering events.
   There’s the Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition – the annual harbinger of back to school and the end of summer – the looming slew of fall fairs and other cooler events.
   Animal events including the six-horse hitch competition are an exciting part of the 175th Woodstock Fall Fair. (Oxford Tourism)
   Let’s go to the fair
   Believe it or not, “fall fairs” will soon be upon us with Woodstock’s happening next week.
   It’s an amazing 175th year for the Woodstock Fall Fair that runs from next Thursday through Sunday (Aug. 25 to28) at the Woodstock Fairgrounds (875 Nellis St.).
   Since 1836, this has been the signature event of the Woodstock Agricultural Society and is something that “everyone looks forward to,” said society manager Michelle Ward.
   “The excitement of pitting your skills on the midway or the thrill of the rides and the enjoyment of seeing the variety of entertainment at the grandstand is a great way to spend time with the family and have fun at the fair,” she said.
  Fair games: “One in you win.” Dunk the basketball and win a prize at the Woodstock Fall Fair. (Oxford Tourism) 

   Gord Marshall, an organizer of the fair and whose family dairy farm goes back to 1837 in Oxford County, known as the Dairy Capital of Canada, calls it “a labour of love, for sure.”
   He has been involved with showing cattle at the fair for years, a highlight of the activities that include horse shows, chuck wagon and chariot races, a children’s tractor pull and baby show.
   Things get underway Thursday with a parade through downtown en route to the fairgrounds along Dundas Street with horse-drawn hay wagons, vintage and classic cars and trucks for the opening ceremonies at 7:30 p.m.
Kids posing with a giant first-place pumpkin at the Woodstock Fall Fair. (Oxford Tourism)
   Traditions include the home crafts and horticulture produce juried displays, Old McDonald’s Barn filled with farm animals “in all shapes and sizes” and the Campbell amusement rides.
   Ladies Day is Friday with a period fashion show and tea, cooking demonstrations with Jed Lau and guest sous chefs.
   Grandstand entertainment includes Jack Cook’s comedy classic car act, Thrill Show Productions demolition derby, demo-cross and free-style motocross events, monster truck, auto crash stunts and a tug of war.
   More information: www.woodstockfairgrounds.com; (519) 537-8212
   Other fairs include Tillsonburg this weekend (www.tillsonburgfair.com); Paris, Sept. 1 to 5 near Brantford (www.parisfair.com); London’s Western Fair, Sept. 9 to 18 (www.westernfairdistrict.com); and Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show in Simcoe, Oct. 4 to 10 (www.norfolkcountyfair.com).
    For a list of the 230 Ontario Association of Agricultural Societies yearly fairs: www.ontariofairs.org

   Let’s go to The Ex!
CNE Midway is lots of fun (CNE)

   Growing up in Toronto, we couldn’t wait for the Canadian National Exhibition (also known as the CNE and The Ex) to open.
   But, it also meant that summer as we knew it was rapidly drawing to a close.
   The venerable fair has been around for 132 years and is on now through Labour Day, attracting about 1.3-million visitors.
   Since 1879, it has been a showcase of innovation and commercialism while entertaining with events including midway rides and games, a working farm, parades and sports, international food and shopping, Kids’ World, and a three-day air show.
   This year, don’t miss the “human cannonball” David Smith Jr., “Strong Man” John Beatty, aerial acrobatics and ice-skating show, the SuperDogs, horse and farm animal shows, giant veggies  and the Food Network celebrity stage.
   Special shows marking the art deco bandshell’s 75th anniversary include the Spinners and Manhattans, Glen Campbell, Neil Sedaka, Loverboy, Lights, My Darkest Days, Tommy James with the Shondells, Andy Kim and the Canadian Forces Musical Salute.
   The midway is a popular spot at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. (CNE)
   There’s also the International Sand Sculpting Competition and the Bra Project, “60 individually created bras with a story.” www.theex.com; (416) 393-6300

   Look! Up in the sky
   Happening now through Sunday, is the Waterloo Air Show where fighter power joins the Canadian Forces Snowbirds.
   The Canadian Forces Snowbirds are among the featured performers at this weekend’s Waterloo Air Show. (Handout – Photo by Ken Lin)
   At the Region of Waterloo International Airport in Breslau, outside Kitchener, the show has all three Canadian Forces demonstration teams participating: the Snowbirds, SkyHawks Parachute Team and the CF-18 fighter jet.
   The U.S. Air Force has its F-16 Fighting Falcon, along with shows of “daredevil aerobatics, historical warbirds and more,” said publicist Diana Spremo.
   Show hours today and Sunday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with air shows from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. along with a large “ground display.” www.waterlooairshow.com (519) 465-0780


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

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