The tractor parade has been a part of Dairyfest for 19 years now and as they pulled through the driveway at Dundas Manor, the look on the faces of the residents was priceless. For those who had made their life in agriculture, having that much vintage iron so close brought so many memories flooding back. Murray Baldwin (third person from left, the only one not in a cow suit) was celebrating his 86th birthday, which made the Winchester Dairyfest’s tractor parade even more special. Mr. Baldwin says he worked in agriculture most of his life and enjoyed seeing the tractors once again. Tinkess Photo
NORTH DUNDAS – North Dundas, and the Winchester community is often described as a “growth community.” It’s hard to disagree, it is growing, and some would say changing, but if you asked a lot of people what event they think of when they hear “Winchester,” the answer, more often than not would be Dairyfest, which in 2023 is celebrating its 35th year.
The event started Friday evening and ran right through the weekend. The amazing thing is that if you went each day, you would have had three completely different experiences.
Friday started off with an open mic night and roller skating. Saturday got moving early with the Firemen’s Breakfast and continued with a full slate of activities throughout the day. You could sit outside and listen to live music or watch the Wild and Free Linedancers strut their stuff, or you could visit one of the many artisans in the vendor area who had their work displayed. There was also a lob ball tournament; you could pick a team and cheer them on.
The kids weren’t left out, by any means. There were activities put on by the Boys and Girls Club, Bouncy Castles outside in 100 Club Park, face painting, balloon animals, a kids’ craft area in the arena and even a Fortnite Tournament upstairs in the Joel Steele Community Centre.
On the Sunday, the classic cars moved in and there were many beautifully restored cars and trucks just waiting to be closely examined. There were the Firemen games, Julie Balloonie and Wild Rooster Face Painting were back for a second day, a petting zoo, Mario Cart and Lego Car races and a beer garden for the adults.
And then there was the tractor parade, organized by John Cinnamon. This is the 19th year that the tractor parade has been a part of Dairyfest, and when he was asked a couple weeks ago how many tractors he expected, Cinnamon said that between 55 and 60 would be nice.
As the tractors left the staging area and began their journey through Winchester, ending up in front of Dundas Manor at 3:00 p.m., it seemed like that number had been exceeded. There were tractors of just about every shape and size, some almost new, others that hadn’t been new for a very long time. As they pulled through the driveway at Dundas Manor, the look on the faces of the residents was priceless. For those who had made their life in agriculture, having that much vintage iron so close brought so many memories flooding back. As suddenly as they had arrived, they were gone, leaving many to look forward to year number 20.
Winchester is changing and it is growing, but events like Dairyfest help a community to remember its roots and how it got to where it is today. Mayor Tony Fraser, who is perhaps North Dundas’ greatest cheerleader, said much of the credit rests with the volunteers who call North Dundas home.
“The Dairy Festival is a part of the community of North Dundas, especially Winchester, and has been for many years,” said Fraser. “And it’s such a wonderful event to bring the community together. My thanks go out to Marsha Workman, Aaron Della, Amy Clarke, Isabelle Clarke, and Lily Clarke for their efforts in organizing their small group of volunteers to put on such an event. Special thanks also go out to Wendy Carkner and Michael Lecuyer for ensuring that the car show returns to Dairyfest, and I look forward to future successes.”
It could be hard to top year 35, but you can be assured that the people who make so much possible will be counted on to do it once again.
Terry Tinkess is a professional photographer, educator and journalist. He has been making a living with a camera and keyboard since 1999 and has been featured in such publications as The Ottawa Citizen, Cornwall Standard Freeholder, The Globe and Mail, The Miami Herald, Ottawa Construction News, The Ontario Construction Report, Ontario Home Builder Magazine, Reed Construction Data, Canadian Potato Business and most recently, The Record and Eastern Ontario AgriNews. Terry lives in Ingleside, Ontario with his wife Brenda, Mia the anxious Pittie and cats Wally and Chubbers.