More than 30 4-H clubs from across the province descended on the Albion Fairgrounds earlier this week for the annual Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Country Fest.
Cows, pigs, and sheep were paraded before judges from Monday to Wednesday, with participants separated into three groups, to keep 4-H members and their families distanced during the fair as a precaution for COVID-19 safety.
There were 27 4-H educational displays on hand for judging, Wednesday morning. However, over all three days, the total number of displays was around 90, explained Megan Baars, assistant special event coordinator at Country Fest.
The displays were organized into two groups: junior ages 9 to 12-years-old, and senior from 13 to 19-years-old. And, this year, there was no theme so the displays were on a variety of topics including: farm safety, knowing your beef cuts, making cookies and soup, and bees. They were judged on creativity, originality, and how well they pulled the whole project together. Winners will be announced by email in the next couple of weeks.
By Wednesday, as the final day of competition for the clubs wrapped up, fair director Lorraine Bates turned her attention towards the free weekend concert taking place July 24 and 25, that is now open to the public.
A full line up is scheduled for the Canadian Heritage Stage at the Albion Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 24.
Still Spirits will be opening up the day starting at noon. Formed in 2011, Still Spirits have been busking and playing shows ever since. They describe themselves as a “good times band”.
Next up is Big City Soul, who will be performing a high-energy mix of new music and classic songs to get people dancing.
The Tanner Olsen Band – made up of the trio Tanner Olsen, Graeme Fugger, and RJ Poland – is based out of Chilliwack. The long-time friends get their sound from nights in high school listening to country music at tailgate parties on the banks of the Fraser River.
Gary Comeau and the Voodoo Allstars will be taking the stage next. Comeau is a singer-songwriter that plays a range of instruments including guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and piano. He performs high energy, New Orleans-style rockin’ roots and blues.
Just before 6 p.m. The Cakewalk Band will be on stage – a six-piece band with bass, drums, guitars, keyboards, and vocals.
Barracuda – a tribute to Pat Benatar, Bad Company, and Heart – will be headlining the stage Saturday evening. From Vancouver, Barracuda will be performing beloved classics from the band Heart, with passion and style. They have even been endorsed by founding Heart member and guitar player Roger Fisher, who has been known to join them on stage for numerous performances.
On Sunday, performances will kick off at 12:05 p.m. with Venezuelan folk music band Asi Somos, who encompass Spanish, African, and native influences into their style.
Next on stage is AMED Dance Academy who will be performing a combination of modern Egyptian and folkloric dance.
The VOC Gospel Choir will be taking to the stage just before 2 p.m. mixing together the sounds of soul, gospel, R&B, jazz, Hawaiian, calypso, and reggae.
Then about 2:25 p.m., Cordel and the Out of Many Reggae Band – who have been performing reggae, soca, and dancehall hits since 1990 – will be on stage. Their performance promises eye-catching dance routines and a collection of traditional and contemporary reggae, dancehall and calypso hits.
Six Gun Romeo will follow with an eclectic melting pot of genres including roots, rock, rhythm and blues, classic rock, honky-tonk and country.
Next will be Courtney Hunt, an independent artist from Vancouver, a professional musician since 2018, and the frontwoman for Canadian event band Appaloosa.
From 4:40 to 4:50 p.m. Auto Jansz – a London-born artist of Sri Lankan and Irish heritage – will be performing. Described as a singer with soft, kind tones who sings about the old souls of historical women.
Headliners Brice Tabish Band will be hitting the stage at 5:05 p.m. bringing the early influences of jazz rhythms on classic rock, along with their funk, and blues-inspired brand of original hard rock.
The concerts will also be live-streamed for those who are not comfortable attending in-person.
In between bands video clips of pre-covid Country Fest events will be broadcast including 4-H shows, pig and duck racing, the Westcoast Lumberjack Show, sheep shearing, sheep dog, and artisans demonstrations.
For those that wish to head down to the fairgrounds, Bates is advising people to bring chairs and blankets to sit on, as there will be no bleachers or beer garden this year.
On Saturday gates open at noon and the event will finish at 9 p.m. and on Sunday it opens at noon and finishes at 6 p.m.
Parking for the event is $2 with all proceeds going to the Pitt Meadows Lions Club.
For a full schedule of bands go to mrpmcountryfest.com/canadian-heritage-stage.
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