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110 years later, Country Fest gets funky

Country Fest will mark is 110th anniversary with a ‘70s theme, and will be jam-packed with entertainment, including All Star Wrestling.
Sally Davis of the Millennium Players dances to covers from the hippy era performed by the Newhouse Band during last year’s Country Fest.

Country Fest will mark is 110th anniversary with a ‘70s theme, and will be jam-packed with entertainment, including All Star Wrestling.

“I don’t think we’ve offered so much for free to date,” said Lorraine Bates, general manager of the Maple Ridge agricultural fair.

There’s so much planned, she added, that the fair president told her to stop booking acts because there was no more room.

Tribute bands to Chicago, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles and The Doors will performing throughout Saturday and Sunday at the Albion Fairgrounds on 105th Avenue in Maple Ridge.

But kick-starting the event Friday will be an added feature this year – the Maple Ridge Music Festival. It takes place on the outdoor stage at the fairgrounds.

The first band, Wild Boys, from the SRT School of Rock program, takes the stage at 3 p.m., followed by Familia, Simon Garrett, Uncle Nestor and Little Brother Band.

Headlining Friday evening at 8 p.m. will be The Latency.

On Saturday only there will be performances by two multicultural choirs, the Austria Vancouver Club Melody Choir and the Trevigiano-Veneto Folkloristic Group of Vancouver.

All Star Wrestling will be at the fairgrounds for a double-header, Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. The event will feature ‘Gorgeous’ Michelle Starr of San Francisco, as well as Disco Fury and Artemis Spencer of Maple Ridge.

The card will also include Girls Gone Wrestling – the best All Star female wrestlers from across Canada and the United States.

The Ridge Meadows Got Talent competition was such a success last year that it is returning, with a new junior category in addition to the senior one.

The latter is for ages 19 and older. The junior category is for ages 10-18.

The top 10 competitors in each group will compete for the titles on Sunday, 1:45 p.m. for junior and 5 p.m. for senior.

Another new event this year is cattle penning. The three-day competition starts Friday at 2 p.m.

Brent Shaw, president of the B.C. Team Cattle Penning Association, said the event is a fundraiser in honour of Maple Ridge resident Michael Sigouin, who passed away in April of this year. Proceeds from the beer garden, 50/50 draws, a silent auction and a portion of the competitor entry fees will go into an education fund for his children.

The fair will also feature: West Coast Amusement rides, The Rock Wall and roller derby demonstrations, as well as Cow Patty Bingo, Fun til your done farm, flyball dog competition, sheep sheering and miniature donkey show. The B.C. Milk Producers ‘Dairy Classroom’ will show children where their milk comes from, and once about there will be 4-H shows for beef, dairy, llama, sheep, swine, goat, poultry, rabbit and dog, gardening, woolcraft, small engines, photography and cloverbuds.

“We’re becoming the destination for 4-H clubs,” Bates said. “Because we’re free and we make sure they have fun while they’re here.”

The Golden Ears Winter Club will be filled to capacity with entries for the Home Arts and Gardening competitions. Categories include home cooking, needlework and textiles, beer and wine, garden produce, arts and crafts and hobbies and lastly photography and scrapbooking.

Cow Patty Bingo which will take place Saturday and Sunday at 4 p.m. A ‘celebrity’ cow from Brookfield Farm will make ‘a drop’ in a pre-marked area. Only 1,225 tickets will be sold each day at $2 each, with a grand prize of $500 per day.

The Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows Agricultural Association was formed on June 15, 1901 to promote and educate the public about the importance of agriculture.

Festival admission, for the fourth straight year, is free. Daily parking is $2, with partial proceeds going to the Ridge Canoe and Kayak Club.

Country Fest runs Saturday from 10 a.m. until midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the Albion Fairgrounds and Planet Ice on 105th Avenue in Maple Ridge.

• Tickets for the All Star Wrestling shows can be purchased at the Country Fest office at the fairgrounds or at All Seasons Tanning and Wok Box along Lougheed Highway and Cutting Edge Nutrition on Dewdney Trunk Road. Tickets are $15 for front row, $12 for ringside and $10 for the bleachers.