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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

165th Harrow Fair welcomes 75,000 visitors

- roller pigeon contest questioned -

by Sylene Argent

There was plenty to see and do at the 165th annual Harrow Fair, which was held over the Labour Day weekend with a “Diamond and Denim” theme.

  From animal exhibits, needle craft and baking contest, to a busy midway complete with games and rides, there was something for everyone to enjoy onsite.

  Visitors to the Harrow Fair had an opportunity to pick up a special edition cook book, which was created in celebration of the 165th annual event. The cook book contained recipes compiled by fair supporters with culinary skills.  

  Every year, because of the array of activities provided, the Harrow Fair attracts a great deal of event entries and visitors.

  Brenda Anger, Past President of the Harrow Fair Board, estimated around 75,000 individuals were admitted to the fair this year. She said the Fair’s competitions also had a solid number of entries.

  “We had good weather. It was perfect for people to come out,” she said.

  The Harrow Fair has become a popular fall destination for regional residents. It is a place where those who did not grow up on a farm could learn about agriculture, from how farms grow the food they eat to how cows produce milk and chickens produce eggs.

  The four-day festivity kicked off on Thursday morning as judges assessed submitted entries into a variety of classes, including ones for baked goods, canned goods, seeds, vegetables, photography, and needle art.

  It continued on throughout the weekend with a horse show, 4-H achievement Days and auctions, parade, and the annual Pie Auction – which raised a record-breaking $32,000 for the John McGivney Children’s Centre.

  James Gibb provided the entertainment Thursday evening with his Elvis tribute show. Anger said this show attracted one the largest Thursday evening crowds to date.

  Entertainment continued throughout the weekend with Kelly Prescott performing on the Friday evening, Craig Campbell taking to the stage on the Saturday evening, and local classic rock cover band “Leave Those Kids Alone,” which is comprised primarily of youth, taking over the main stage on Sunday afternoon.  

  One of the Harrow Fair events, the Roller Pigeon Contest, was called into question regarding ethics after a video recording the contest emerged on Social Media.

The Harrow Fair website notes roller pigeons are a special breed of pigeon that are known for their acrobatic abilities.

  “They are the bowling balls of the avian world,” the website states.

  In the contest, they are judged based on the distance and number of tumbles they take as their handlers roll them across the grass, the website continues.

  Anger noted the Harrow Fair did receive phone call complaints of the contest. 

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