By Kemone Moodley/Special to The News
Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadow’s Countryfest opened to great success despite concerns over not enough help.
Hosted by the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Agricultural Association, the festival opened this Saturday to a plethora of livestock showings, cultural dances, and food and market vendors.
All throughout the day, crowds of people learned about agriculture — for free — while fighting off the heat with cups of shaved ice, ice cream, and lemonade. In fact, the hot weather proved to be no challenge as the people showed up to support the Countryfest in its 121st year.
Yet, Lorraine Bates, manager of the country fest since 1991, said that there were some worries over preparations for the event.
“We’ve had to step up, and stretch out our reach for volunteers and organizations to help us,” said Bates.
“[The volunteers] are more tired than normal but they’re here. They are incredible volunteers who believe in the mandate of promoting agriculture,” she added. “We’re just incredibly blessed.”
First opening in 1901, the local agricultural fair has been a yearly staple for both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and has been showcasing some of the finest examples of livestock and agriculture that the Lower Mainland has to offer.
This year is no exception, as guests get the chance to witness showings for various livestock — such as cattle, sheep, and pigs — and see displays of finely grown vegetables. All this aligns with the festival’s continuing mission to educate people on the importance of agriculture and its role in feeding communities, Bates explained.
“If everybody who comes through the gate learns one more thing about agriculture and where their food comes from, that they didn’t know before, then we’ve done our job,” she said.
Of course, the Countryfest is also an important unity event that allows people in the community to share their culture with others. Aside from agriculture, the festival also features display booths and dances performance by different European cultures, has a modest (but noteworthy) medieval tourney, and once again welcomes the Westcoast Lumberjack Show.
The festivities continue today (Sunday) through until 6 p.m.
“The volunteers have done an incredible job of putting it all together,” reiterated Bates, “And we have the weather on our side.” said Bates.
Admission is free. Parking is $2.
“The only cost is $2 for parking. But really, it’s a toonie and you could fill a car,” she said.
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