“I think it exceeded our expectations in a lot of areas,” Krista Kellar, second vice-president of the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society, said about this year’s fall fair in Emo.
“With our truck raffle, we were able to raise some money to get some projects around the fairgrounds done that we’ve been putting off for years just from the cost perspective,” she noted.
“Ideally, the biggest goal we’re focusing on right now is building a new exhibition hall and incorporating the vendors’ booths and handicap washrooms,” Kellar said.
“Essentially, we want to have one main structure that streamlines everything.”
Future capital projects include maintenance on the horse barn floor and electrical work throughout the grounds.
“I’d like to congratulate Shane and Rachel McQuaker on their brand new truck [a 2013 GMC Sierra Crew Cab],” added Kellar.
“Shane told us that they bought one ticket just to support the fair; they had no intention of winning,” she noted.
“We did very, very well on the truck draw,” Kellar said. “It’s something that we may consider having in the future based on the response.
“I know the group that organized the beer gardens this year were raising funds for the Emo Arena to install a handicap-accessible elevator,” Kellar said of other fundraising efforts during this year’s Emo Fair.
“I don’t think they quite got to their goal but they got a huge step forward,” she remarked.
“We want to thank everybody for their support of that, as well.”
Kellar said the horse show was a huge success this year, noting they had a big crowd for that.
“The [stock car] races always draw a huge crow,” she added. “It’s an important part of any event we have.”
The exhibition hall also was fairly packed this year, Kellar said.
She said she noticed many of the same names from past years entering vegetables, baked good, crafts, and much more in the hall, and that tradition is carrying on.
Kellar also was happy to report the category where grandparents and grandchildren enter a craft they have done together was quite popular.
“I’m a stickler for tradition so seeing stuff like that just makes my heart flutter,” she enthused.
Meanwhile, the “Farmer Tom” performances ended up catering to a different demographic than expected.
“It looked to be the senior crowd that enjoyed him more,” Kellar said of the children’s performer.
“Every time I was over there, there was not a child to be seen,” she recalled. “But some of our old-timers were there stomping their feet and clapping along.”
She added he got his agricultural message across well when speaking with people after his performances.
While attendance at this year’s Emo Fair had not been tallied as of press time, the fair board is estimating numbers were down from last year.
“Our attendance was down this year but it looks like we had a lot more people from the States coming up,” Kellar noted.
“The flip side is that we sold more advance tickets than any other year.
“As always, we want to see more people out with their families,” Kellar encouraged.
“We want more of everything—more exhibitors, more vendors . . . we want to be frantic trying to find room for people.”
Kellar said the feedback the RRVAS got from attendees and vendors alike was that a good time was had by all.
“I put it down as a win in my book,” she remarked.
In just a few short weeks, the RRVAS will be holding another fundraiser for the Emo Fair by bringing in the Clark and Barnes Family Fun Circus.
“We’re bringing in a family circus on Sept. 11,” Kellar said, which will take place on the fairgrounds starting at 7 p.m.
“We figured that in September, everybody’s back to school, nobody’s at the cabin—there’s not a whole lot to do for the whole family,” she explained.
Advance tickets, which cost $15 for adults and $7 for children, are now available by contacting any RRVAS member (found at emofair.com)
“We definitely did our research on this one,” Kellar stressed, noting the circus is accredited with PETA so organizers are sure the animals are well taken care of.
“Animals, acrobats, performers . . . it’s the full experience for the kids,” she pledged.
“If we can reach our goal to get the exhibition hall up by next year, then we’re going for it,” she added.
Looking ahead, Kellar said several positions are open on the board and they need directors.
“The annual general meeting is scheduled for November,” she noted.
“The biggest thing is everybody has an opinion on how we did . . . and as director, you can make sure not only that your voice is heard but you can initiate positive change.
“That’s why I came on the board.
“I think the fair is something worth fighting for, and it’s something worth keeping around for our children,” Kellar stressed.
“If they want to hear any reports on the fair, that’s where it happens,” she said. “If they have questions, concerns, comments, criticisms . . . that’s where it can be heard.
“The AGM is definitely the place to make sure you get the resolution you want,” Kellar reiterated.