Tillsonburg fair opens next Thursday
Tillsonburg Agricultural Society Fair Board President Mike Dean is excited about next week’s 159th version of Tillsonburg’s annual late-summer tradition. The fair opens Thursday and runs through Sunday. Jeff Tribe/Tillsonburg News
Tillsonburg Fair Board President Mike Dean is looking back a weekend even as he looks forward to the 159th Annual Tillsonburg Agricultural Society Fair.
“Hoping for the same weather we had this weekend just past,” he said Wednesday morning. “Not too hot, nice and sunny.”
While hoping for Mother Nature to do her part, the fair board has done its part in putting together what it hopes will be an attractive lineup for Tillsonburg and the surrounding area.
The fair is scheduled to officially open Thursday, August 15 at 6 p.m. on the Kinsmen/Memorial Arena floor, and continue on through four days through to Sunday evening.
Opening ceremonies will include crowning of the fair ambassador (“female or male,” Dean emphasized), junior ambassador and mini queen and mini king. The ambassadors, full and junior, will be selected Monday evening by a panel of four judges, whose decision will be revealed publicly Monday on the fair’s Second Stage
There are (unofficially) three ambassadors, five junior ambassadors, four mini queen contestants and two vying for the title of mini king.
“So a pretty good lineup,” said Dean.
The mini queen and king competition will be live Thursday, adding to the moment.
That is right there Thursday night,” said Dean.
Opening and crowning ceremonies will be followed by a double-barrelled dose of country music, courtesy of OCMA award-winners Chelsea Crites and Scott Skirving, respectively.
“It is a country fair – for Thursday night, anyway,” said Dean.
A mini tractor pull will be Friday’s feature on the racetrack in front of a pair of portable grandstands, rented for the weekend due to the fact, says Dean, the existing grandstand has been declared structurally unsound. Rotated slightly toward the old horse corral, they will serve their purpose nicely, he believes.
“It’s going to go on without a hiccup.”
Saturday is Kids Day at the fair, kicking off with a 9 a.m. baby show.
“And until 5 o’clock, there will be live entertainment for kids all day long on the arena floor,” Dean promised, of a lineup including an ice cream eating contest and birds of prey show.
Carter Shows is getting in on the day’s spirit, offering ‘pay one price’ options for its midway, either all day up to 6 p.m.; or 6 p.m. onward to close. The fair board is again instituting ‘midnight madness’, waiving the entry fee ($8 13 and over; $4 6-12; under five free and four-day advanced pass $20) from 9 p.m. onward to close.
That evening’s main event is a pair of tribute bands: Keep The Faith who will be paying homage to Bon Jovi, and Thunderstruck, replicating AC/DC’s thunder from down under.
“We’re going to have some rock ‘n roll,” explained Dean. “Gotta have a mix, something for everybody.”
Sunday’s fair finale will feature a smash up derby, with fenders beginning to smash at 6 p.m. in front of the main grandstand.
Throughout the fair, the Crystal Palace will be host to the annually-popular home craft competition, with five $100 prizes (for example, for the best pie) providing added incentive. Those wishing to register for the home craft competition can do so this week says Dean.
“And drop off your things after 7 p.m. Monday evening.”
Appreciative of the ’20 or so,’ volunteers who make the fair possible, Dean is already looking forward to next year, and its 160th anniversary, where the idea of a ‘big name headline’ band is already being kicked around on by the board.
“We’ve already applied for grants to help make it bigger and better,” he said.
In the meantime, as mentioned, Dean is hoping for fine weather and support from the community for an annual late-summer tradition.
“Hopefully everyone comes out and supports the fair.”