Despite weather challenges, Napanee Fair fares well

The demolition derby once again proved to be a strong draw to the 186th Napanee Fair. (Seth DuChene Photo.)

By Seth DuChene

The long weekend’s unstable weather translated into diminished attendance at the 186th Napanee Fair — but it didn’t seem to dampen the mood.

As the final numbers were being tallied on Monday afternoon, Lennox Agricultural Society President Carol McKinley predicted that the numbers would show fewer people visited the Napanee Fair than in previous years, and she pointed to the weather as the reason why.

Don Parkinson of Gino’s Pizza Napanee (right) presents the ‘Gino’s Giant’ award for volunteers to Elsie Dowdle (centre). (Seth DuChene Photo).

In fact, heavy rains on Sunday forced the cancellation of the heavy horse pull that evening, one of the more popular attractions at the annual fair. She said the decision to shut the pull down was done to protect the safety of the horses.

Despite the weather challenges, traditional attendance still attracted a crowd, said McKinley, most notably the demolition derby on Monday. She also said that the country music concert on Sunday was a success. The show — which featured Jason Benoit and Craig Curtis, along with a cash bar and separate ticketing from fair itself — was the biggest new addition to the Napanee Fair. Building on what they learned from Sunday night’s show, McKinley says she expects the fair will bring something similar back again next year.

“For our first attempt, I think from here on it out will go smoothly,” she said.

Monday’s demolition derby served as an opportunity to honour the official voice of the derby, Elsie Dowdle. Dowdle was presented with the first ever Gino’s Pizza ‘Gino’s Giant’ volunteer award, in recognition of her hours of volunteering with the demolition derby and other causes. Don Parkinson of Gino’s Pizza said that the new annual award will be known as the ‘Elsie’ after this year.

(From left) Emilia Huff, Kaitlin Kimmett and Madeline Fretts compete in the intermediate dairy showmanship category during the L&A 4-H Beef and Dairy Achievement Day on Monday. (Seth DuChene Photo).

Mark Miller pulls for the win during Friday night’s tractor pull. (Seth DuChene Photo)

Kristen Hawley rounds the barrel during the horse show on Saturday. (Seth DuChene Photo)

Ethan Hunt gets into some fun at the corn box. (Seth DuChene Photo)

Nancy Bruinsma had the perfect setting in which to show her artifacts and pictures from Camp Rathbun during the fair this weekend: one of the former hangers from the First World War airfield serves as one of the display buildings at the Napanee Fairgrounds. (Seth DuChene Photo)

Noah Brant makes a sharp turn during Monday morning’s lawnmower races.

From flowers to cookies to photographs were on display in the Napanee Curling Club. (Seth DuChene Photo)

Shyla Hart and her bandmates rock out to kick of Friday night’s talent show. (Seth DuChene Photo)

‘Magic Al’ pulls a dove out of a pouch, much to the surprise of Brianna Cote, 7, during the Cool Magic Show on Saturday.

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