Country Fest not same old

It's volunteers who make annual agricultural event sing

Country Fest returned to Albion Fairgrounds on the weekend.

Country Fest returned to Albion Fairgrounds on the weekend.

Some interesting numbers from Country Fest: It was the 114th annual show, there were almost 100 volunteers, and the most senior of them was 102 years old.

Maple Ridge centenarian Dorothy Rouch kept an eye on the silent auction items, and at the end of her volunteer shift went for a twirl on the Ferris wheel.

She was also the oldest participant in the Home Arts and Garden competition, with various knitting submissions, including scarves, dish cloths, and blankets.

Sunday morning’s rain put a dent in attendance, which was likely down from last year’s 18,000

But festival manager Lorraine Bates is generally more impressed by the work of her volunteers than the size of the crowds, and said the traditional farm fair is in good shape going forward.

“What spells success for me is Sunday night, at our volunteer barbecue. When you hear them talking about what they’re going to do next year – they’re still exhausted from this year, but they’re thinking about next year.”

Those organizers and volunteers did an exemplary job of filling the fair with things to do, added Bates.

This year the fair added a cat show.

The Cat Fanciers of B.C. put on the show, which had about 150 entries.

The B.C. Blueberry Council hosted Blueberry Festival at the fair, and it included pie eating, blueberry wine tasting and children’s activities.

Those were in addition to the midway, sheep dog demos, Ridge Meadows Got Talent competition and other Country Fest staples.

Country Fest remains one of the premier 4-H events of the year, attracting people from the Interior and Vancouver Island to compete with their calves, hogs, sheep and all manner of livestock.

Sunday morning’s rain didn’t wash out the church service, but attendance was down for the church at Country Fest service.

“By noon it was nice, and then we were busy,” said Bates.