With an increased awareness on where our food is coming from and families seeking more local options, this year’s 112th edition of Country Fest is serving a healthy dose of education.
Country Fest runs July 27 and 28 at the Albion Fairgrounds, located on 23448 – 105th Ave. in Maple Ridge, and this year’s event will highlight a number of “how to” events, including backyard gardening.
“People are becoming more conscience of not only what they are eating, but where it comes from,” said Lorraine Bates, general manager for County Fest. “There’s no better way to connect with the region’s agricultural heritage than with a trip to the this year’s event.”
Unbelievably Fun is the theme for this year’s event, and Bates said part of that attraction comes from the growth of the festival.
Thanks in large part to a federal grant from the Canadian Heritage department and a host of local sponsors, Bates said their is no admission fee for the event. She said this is the sixth year Country Fest has gone without collecting gate revenue and the concept has paid off. She said groups that usually charge a fee of up to $500 to come and give their demonstrations are now lining up to get on board.
Besides the backyard gardening demonstrations, Bates said their will be both a mobile dairy and poultry exhibits on tap.
A strong 4-H presence will also get a boost as Country Fest will play host to a provincial competition over the weekend.
Bates estimates more than 14,000 people take in the weekend event.
The event is also a major draw for local musicians and dancers. The event will see groups like ’70s Vancouver band Stonebolt, as well as March Hare, a CCR and Bob Seger tribute band also take the stage.
As well, West Coast Amusements will be on hand with the midway, along with farrier, sheepdog, and sheep shearing demonstrations.
“It’s quite an impressive line-up this year,” said Bates. “There’s not some magical formula we use to do this. We do it because we have so many dedicated volunteers who are passionate about what they do.”
Saturday, July 27, Country Fest runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday, July 28, gates are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parking at the fair is $2.
• For more information on events go to mrpmcountryfest.com.