Welcome to the Fair
The Russell Coyotes Girls’ hockey team, which plays out of the Embrun arena, volunteered to help at the gates at the 159th edition of the Russell Fair, held at the fairgrounds in Russell, from Sept. 7 to Sept. 10.      Vetter photo

Candice Vetter
Villager Staff
RUSSELL – The 2017 edition of the Russell Fair, one of the province’s older agricultural fairs, was a big hit with locals and visitors alike from Thurs., Sept. 6 to Sun., Sept. 10. After two years of reduced attendance due to inclement weather, the sun shone brightly and good attendance was restored, much to the relief of the organizers, who have worked hard all year to produce the event, which is Russell’s biggest.

The Handcrafts division was well represented with submissions for knitting, lace, quilting, photography and art, often with a Canada 150 theme. Vetter photo

The new big top tent in the ball diamond area was a popular spot to hear live bands and the craft beer festival, in its second year, was again packed. As well as celebrating the 159th edition of the Fair, the Russell Agricultural Society, whose members run the Fair and coordinate a small army of volunteers, also celebrated the 150th anniversary of Confederation and had a theme of Canada 150+.

Cole from GFL Environmental Inc. showed students the six-year-old Harris Hawk, Andie, at the Russell Fair Education day on Fri., Sept. 8. The pair have worked together for a year and a half to keep seagulls away from the landfill site. Cole explained his role is to patrol the site with Andie and when birds are found onsite, Andie begins her hunt. Sawyer Helmer photo

Some other highlights included Education Day, which invites school groups to attend for free on Friday morning and learn about agriculture. The Friday night concert, the demolition derby, the truck and tractor pulls, and the mini-wrestling event welcomed large crowds.

Wrestling was a new event at the Fair, featuring wrestlers from small to large. Other athletes which were fun to watch were the acrobats of I-Flip, who did death-defying acrobatic acts of daring do.

Preparing for the Fair is a year-long endeavour, requiring countless hours of volunteer work and coordination between numerous committees, service groups, directors and local residents. It supports agriculture, 4-H, local vendors, horse, cattle and livestock clubs, as well as budding artists, photographers, crafters, horticulturalists and cooks.

Grade 2 students Ava and Sophia of Mother Teresa’s Catholic School enjoyed the grain station and animal pelts station (provided by Lynn Macnab Custom Leather Work). Sophia learned how to stamp a leather bracelet, a memento she was able to take home. Sawyer Helmer photo

A few results were immediately available, including Flowers – Junior, with top points going to Veronica Ion, Seth Stapper, Sarah Cumming and Jesse Stapper. Brian Groot-Lipman and John Hickling tied for most points in the Keith Dugdale Field Crops award. Henry Staal and Tony Baas won the Hank Staal award with highest points for corn. In Vegetables most points went to Nancy Cumming, second to Doris Schoeni and in Junior Vegetable most points went to Sarah Cumming. First and second in Soy pods were Tony Baas and Rudy Schoeni.