For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, a classic rural summer fair returned to Lansdowne with cotton candy, midway rides, farm animals – and large crowds.
Hosted by the Lansdowne Agricultural Society, the 158th edition of the Lansdowne Fair had a full slate of activities, like the popular demolition derby, truck and tractor pulls. The event ran all weekend.
"We had to cancel our fair in 2020 and 2021 with the reason being COVID and us opting to not come back because we didn't think we could execute it properly, and our biggest concern was the (safety) of the public and our volunteers," said Dean Garrett, president of the Lansdowne Agricultural Society. “We wanted to make sure everyone was safe.”
But with restrictions caused by the pandemic now loosened, the fair was able to return to its roots with a full slate of in-person activities.
"This is massive," said Garrett. "We couldn’t be more excited to be back and to be doing this."
He estimated that the crowd that walked through the fair gates throughout the weekend was larger than the last time this fair was able to be held.
"In 2019 we were at around 5,000 for the entire weekend, and we know our numbers are up so far from 2019 already," said Garrett. "And walking around the fairgrounds, you see all kinds of crowds. It's amazing. We couldn’t be more pleased, pleased with how the crowds are responding, and it seems everyone is excited to be here, getting out and doing stuff again."
(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times