The Russell Agricultural Society brands itself as being the fair that has been “harvesting excitement every September, since 1858,” when it launched the Russell Fair.
“The main purpose of our fair is to promote agriculture. We extend a warm welcome to former and new exhibitors who showcase our local agriculture. Cattle and sheep shows, vegetables, culinary arts, handcrafts and an outstanding flower show all highlight local talent. Let’s not forget the great entertainment from Thursday night’s truck pull to the last music performance on Sunday night,” said Russell Fair President Henry Staal, in a message posted on the fair’s website.
Last year was a tough year for Russell Fair. Three days of rain caused attendance to plummet. The fair had to pay for entertainment that few people showed up to watch. Russell Fair Director Theresa Wever told The Review that her fingers are crossed for a warm and dry weekend that delivers beautiful weather to accompany the long list of entertainment in store at Russell Fair. Strong attendance this year will help to offset last year’s losses.
There are lots of new additions, including a craft beer and food festival, which will be held on Saturday, September 10. Six local brewers will be participating, including Beau’s All Natural Brewing, Cassel Brewery, Broken Stick Brewing and Tuque Brewing. Food samples will accompany the beer, including a selection of cheese from the St-Albert Cheese Co-Op.
The fun begins on Thursday, September 8, with the judging of exhibits, a Holstein dairy show and a stock truck pull. It costs a toonie to ride on any of the midway rides on Thursday night.
Friday opens with educational exhibits, gymkhana western riding shows, and the Ultimutts Stunt Dog Show. For the first time this year there will also be “Russell Salloon and Fair Clown Escape Rooms.”
“The escape rooms are popular in Ottawa. Groups of four people are given clues and they have 30 minutes to solve a puzzle, which will unlock a key for them to get out of the room,” said Wever.
On Friday night “Great Scott” will open for “Absolute Journey: Tribute to Journey and Fleetwood Mac Mania.” The concert starts at 8 p.m. in the arena and is open only to adults.
There are a full line of events scheduled for Saturday, September 10, including the craft beer and food festival, which opens at 9:30 a.m. There will be a classic equipment show as well as a class bike and auto show. 4-H Achievement Day activities and the North Ball Diamond natural horsemanship demonstration, which is new this year, begin at 10 a.m.
Children’s activities include face painting, a petting zoo, a magic show and “Mystic Drumz.”
“We are holding frog races for the first time this year. You have to bring your own frog. It’s open to frogs and toads of all size, with registration opening on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and the race at 11 a.m.,” said Wever.
The “Amazing Race” team scavenger hunt starts at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The first place prize is $500, second place wins $300 and third place wins $100.
The “Children’s Power Wheels Demolition Derby” will start at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the “Thompson Boiler Works Demolition Derby.”
There will be a pancake breakfast on Sunday morning, followed by the fall cutting horse competition, which is a qualifying show for Eastern Ontario.
The junior sheep show starts at 11 a.m., followed by the open sheep shoe and the tractor pull and lawn tractor pull.
A variety of events will take place at different times throughout the fair, including family activities, natural horsemanship demonstrations, musical performances and more.
For a full list of activities, visit www.russellfair.com