Renfrew – When the last of the vendors closed up their booths at the 167th edition of the Renfrew Fair on Sunday evening, it marked the end of one of the most successful editions of the fair in recent memory.
Organizers estimate more than 20,000 people passed through the gates over the four-day event and the weekend was highlighted with close to 8,900 entering the grounds on Saturday with many of them coming to watch the return of the demolition derby.
Judy Dobec, the fair’s general manager, said the weekend was an incredible success and the combination of excellent weather and the desire for the visitors to return to something traditional were big factors for high attendance figures.
“Last year we had a scaled down version of the fair and it generated a desire to keep the fair going and offer more variety,” she said. “We don’t have all the numbers in yet but we will likely be around 20,000 going through the gates and that is not counting all the vendors, the teams in the horse competitions, and the volunteers.
“On Saturday we had almost 8,900 come through the gates and many came for the demolition derby and the grandstands were filling up by 5 p.m., a full two hours before the show started. Along with the 25 booths and 15 food vendors, the derby and all the events were well attended.”
Unlike most past fairs, there were often one or two days the weather did not cooperate and quite often the rain kept patrons away. However, the shift from a five-day fair to a four-day event and perfect weather had the crowds rolling in on a consistent basis.
Paul Neville, who is serving his first term as Fair Board President, thanked the volunteers and out-of-town guests for participating this year.
“There is no way this fair could be successful without the incredible efforts of all the volunteers,” he said. “You look around and you will notice them emptying garbage cans, getting the grounds ready for the horses or the demolition derby and they are there. Along with all the visitors who come from far beyond the traditional 60-mile radius of Renfrew, it made the fair a great success.”
Once again the midway rides, games and extra food vendors were supplied by Robertson Amusements and several thousand children and adults enjoyed the variety of rides. The agricultural section was well-attended and local youth had an opportunity to showcase their animals.
Bruce McIntyre, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader