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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Everything's turning up country at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

   One-Tank Trip for Oct. 29-16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The big city is going country when the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair whinnies, neighs, moos and snorts into town.
   The 94th annual fair at Toronto’s Exhibition Place from Nov. 4 to 13 offers the very best in food, agriculture and equine competitions.
   It’s billed as the “world’s largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian fair.”
Competing in style at the Royal fair. (Photo by Howard Schatzberg)
   “Whether your passion is prize-winning cattle, goats, sheep or pigs, the best in agriculture, local food and beer or equestrian competitors from around the globe, this year’s event offers something fun and exciting for everyone,” organizers say.

   The big show features more than 5,000 animals including 800 horses and thousands of livestock competing for the coveted title of “Royal Champion.”
   Charlie Johnstone, the fair’s ceo, calls it a “spectacle, a celebration and a stage for competition among the best of what Canada offers.”
   There will be Olympic champions who strive for show jumping perfection to farmers who proudly compete to be recognized as the country’s best in agriculture, he added.
   Nick Skelton and horse Big Star, individual gold medalists at the Rio Olympics, headline at the Royal Horse Show. (Photo by Cealy Tetley)
   This is the place for excellence in horsemanship at the Royal Horse Show, called North America’s number one indoor equestrian event.
   Olympic Gold medalists Nick Skelton and his horse Big Star of Great Britain as well as Michael Jung of Germany will compete in show jumping and indoor events while Sylvia Zerbini will show her Arabian horses.
   Visitors will have a better viewing experience at the Ring of Excellence, the Royal’s main livestock show ring, that has been increased in size by one-quarter.
Olympic champ Michael Jung will compete at the Royal Horse Show.
   It will include premium show suites, hospitality capabilities and more general seating while state-of-the-art digital capacities will enable live streaming to a global audience.
   There is an animal theatre, petting farm, giant vegetables and butter sculpting, too.

   Swing your partner
   Human critters can kick-up their heels at the Road House Barn Dance featuring the Colt Walker band at the ring on Nov. 9 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.
   The fair and Boots and Hearts Music Festival from north of Barrie have partnered to present Canadian country music talent.
   It features Vanessa Marie Carter, winner of the Emerging Artist Showcase, and finalists Jesse Gold and Robyn Ottolini, performing on Nov. 12 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
   Cowpokes will be out in force at the rodeo with the country’s top bull, saddle bronc, bareback riders and barrel racers competing.
   Turbo the Goat, a Royal favourite, is back to greet visitors and pose for photos as well as perform at the Animal Theatre. twitter.com/turbo_goat
A girl kisses her entry at a 4-H Club junior livestock competition at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. (Photo by Nina Linton)
   The 4-H competition will draw entries from across Canada for the National Junior Beef Heifer Show on Nov. 4 and 5 for the young exhibitors.

   Royal food and drink
   Chef Michael Bonacini of Oliver & Bonacini restaurant group hosts the Royal Dinner, a farm-to-table, exclusive dining experience on Nov. 6.
   Taking place on the terrace of the Royal Horse Show in the Ricoh Coliseum, ticketholders can enjoy a matinee performance along with a four-course meal featuring ingredients, wine and spirits sourced from Royal competitors.
   The Road to the Royal Chef Challenge is the culmination of six events across Ontario that led to qualifiers for the semi-final and championship challenges.
It’s showtime at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.
   The fair will host acclaimed chefs from Ireland, New York City and Toronto for the Royal International Invitational Chef Challenge on Nov. 6.
   There’s also the Royal Wine competition and Canadian Craft Beer and Ontario Cider awards at the show.

   If you go
   The Royal is at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place, 100 Princes’ Blvd., Toronto.
   For event schedules, live webcasting, results and the various ticket prices and discounts (horse show tickets extra): royalfair.org; (416) 263-3400  
   Hours are Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 6, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 13, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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

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