atA two-week-long country festival is being planned at the Albion Fairgrounds this year.
So far, 31 clubs from across the province – with more than 400 animals – have confirmed their place at the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Country Fest.
The fair’s general manager Lorraine Bates is excited the fair will be taking place this year.
It is the oldest festival in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, having been celebrated since 1901 – with the exception of last year, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything.
This year, she is planning to have the 4-H clubs come to the fair in three different batches to make sure there will not be more than 50 people in the barns at once.
Then, on the weekend of the fair, she is planning a livestream concert where, in between each band, they will be posting videos from the fair – sheep dogs, ducks, sheep shearing, the dairy classroom, and all the 4-H shows.
Last year, they were only able to streamline a two-day concert – mainly because they still had use of the stage and federal grant money. And in between each band they broadcast a thank you to all the frontline workers.
This year, Bates said, they are going back to their roots.
“We are going to be going back to what we are supposed to be doing – promoting agriculture,” she said.
The second week of the fair is going to be reserved for the home arts and crafts portion of the fair, where participants will be able to drive through and drop off their crafts. A video will be taken and posted online as each category is judged.
Every year of the fair, aside from last year when there was no fair, Bates has always puts on a fun competition for all the 4-H members. This year will be no different.
“I thought, what can I do that they can do on a smaller level and divide it up three times,” for each batch of children.
Bates decided to host a scarecrow-making competition where the kids use recycled materials.
The children can either make their scarecrows off or on site. Then they will present their creations at a mock fashion show, where they will march out their scarecrow to “pumped-up music” and tell viewers about their creation.
The Co-operators – Callison Financial Services Ltd. has donated $1,000 in prize money, so the creator of the winning scarecrow in each batch will receive $100. There will be prizes for the top six scarecrows.
The scarecrows will then become the property of the fair and will be used as audience members for the concert.
Bates is happy the 2021 fair is coming together.
“We don’t know what the end of July is going to look like, but I didn’t want to stand still and wait for it to come around and not have time to do anything,” she said.
“You just have to think differently and keep people safe.”
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