Organizers ensured the 36th annual Wilberforce Agricultural Fair went on Aug. 9-10 despite the loss of one of the community’s pillars.
The fair attracted hundreds of guests to enjoy agricultural competition, games, vendors, food, animals and more.
But Wilberforce Agricultural Society treasurer Janet Vanier said the passing of Hilda Clark, whose funeral was also on Aug. 10 in Minden, led to some extra challenge. Clark was a regular volunteer with the fair and many other community initiatives.
“Hilda was a big supporter of the fair. She would have missed being here,” Vanier said. “We know the fair has to go on. Just doing our best, and a lot of people are putting extra work in, volunteering more so that other people can get out (to the funeral).”
Clark was known for her contributions throughout the county, including founding the Wilberforce Heritage Guild and working with the Red Cross Outpost Hospital and the Wilberforce FUNraising Group, among others.
“Thanks, Hilda, for your kinda-crusty-but-ever-lovable character, your verve and your undeniable commitment,” the Stanhope Museum wrote on its Facebook page.
But the fair was still able to go off successfully thanks to the efforts of organizers and volunteers.
Wayne Quibell of Highland Creek Builders has done live demonstrations at the fair for several years, donating his creations for fair fundraising. He said he was impressed by this year’s crowd and the event’s new attractions, such as booths run by the local fire department and Canoe FM.
“It’s a great little community and you get to get out and meet all kinds of new people,” Quibell said. “No better place to spend a Saturday than the Wilberforce Fair.”
The event is also a place for competition, including horse pulls, bench exhibits and a children’s dog show. Agricultural society director Mike Alden has competed in horse pulling for five years.
“I’ve always liked it,” Alden said. “The competitors are nice to each other, they always help each other out. Everybody’s always having a good time.”
Vanier said a lot of work goes into putting the event on, with planning for next year starting shortly after the fair ends. But she said there is plenty to make it worthwhile in the end.
“The smiles on the kids’ faces and the community participating,” Vanier said. “It’s just great to see the community coming together.”