Hymers fair a success

·3 min read

Hymers, Ont. — Driving up dusty Highway 595 on Monday, folks were selling apples and having yard sales on the way to the Hymers Fall Fair, a mere two-kilometre car jam just to find parking for the 110th anniversary of the popular agricultural celebration.

But when visitors finally arrived, it was well worth the eventual car wash.

After purchasing a ticket in a line of over 100 people that snaked down Hymers Fair Drive, fairgoers were greeted by festival participants working mid-last century household equipment such as a 1950s wringer washer which featured rollers on the top of the unit.

Only a few steps away was the start of the Lakehead Shrine Club train ride where parents and children hopped aboard for a trip around the fairgrounds.

Hymers Agricultural Society president Erin Laforest said the turnout, especially with the sunny warm weather over the weekend, has topped expectations.

“(The crowds) have been phenomenal,” said Laforest, who is in her first year as society president.

“Weather, we couldn’t ask for better weather. . . . Usually, it rains at least one day and this week I’ve been posting on social media all week ‘Excellent weather’ every morning before I left the house. I was posting (Monday) morning ‘Great weather. We’re going to reach a high of 24 C (Monday). Come on out.’ I hope that drew a lot of people’s attention.”

Around 8,700 people took in the two-day fair where the beef competition on Sunday and the dairy contest on Monday were the big draws.

Food booths were plentiful as well as various musical acts that played both the main stage and the hilltop stage. On Sunday, Tommy Horricks filled in as the headliner on the main stage when The Hoolies had to cancel.

Laforest was thankful to the shorthanded group of volunteers who worked tirelessly to make the fair a success.

“The gates people, the kitchen people, (the parking volunteers) were amazing,” Laforest said. “We had some of our staff helping out our volunteers. People from the Underground Gym came to volunteer as well. They’re doing an excellent, just really great job out there because it’s not easy trying to fill all these parking lots.

“We were definitely short (of volunteers) this year. ‘Ok, dining hall is busy right now, we need people. Ok, hotdog booth, spares and volunteers.’ They jumped over there. When the hotdog booth needed them again, they bounced back. ‘Can anybody spare some time to do a bit of parking?’ ‘Yeah, OK.’ Everyone’s so on board to lend a helping hand because some people joined last minute. Some people said, ‘You guys are swamped, let me help you out.’”

Near the end of the fair outside the fairgrounds, the apples were still being sold and the yard sales still going strong.

“(The people of Hymers in the Township of Gillies) know that it’s their weekend,” Laforest said. “A lot of them really take advantage of that because they know they’re going to get that traffic flow coming through. It’s good for them and it’s good for Gillies to get that attention.”

John Nagy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal