4-H clubs the backbone of Maple Ridge’s Country Fest

Festival-goers had to park their cars along Lougheed Highway on the weekend after lots at the Albion Fairgrounds filled...

Gillian Annett cleans her sheep Smoky the Bandit.

Gillian Annett cleans her sheep Smoky the Bandit.

Festival-goers had to park their cars along Lougheed Highway on the weekend after lots at the Albion Fairgrounds filled to capacity for Country Fest.

The 114th annual event attracted it’s largest crowd yet, largely due to the 100th anniversary celebrations for the City of Pitt Meadows and the local 4-H Club.

Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Agricultural Association general manager Lorraine Bates estimates that the two-day fair attracted more than 18,000 visitors.

There were 1,300 4-H registrants alone, from Vancouver Island to Armstrong.

“The barns were absolutely filled. We couldn’t fit one more animal in any of the barns,” Bates said.

“Between the beef and the dairy, there was 200 head of cattle. They can’t even get that at the larger fair.”

New to the fair this year, lawn mower racing was a popular attraction. Bates is considering expanding it to two days next year.

She is also expecting the numbers to stick at next years event.

“There are a lot of [4-H] clubs that had never been here before, but they will be back. Once clubs come they usually stay.”