Another Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society's fall fair has come and gone, and whether you happened to make it out to Emo or not, there's little doubt the fair continues to be a vital district event.
The fair draws residents of all ages from across the district, whether they're fans of the midway, participants in any of the many fair events, auction bidders, race spectators, or they simply want to go where nearly everyone else is and socialize.
The fair included livestock exhibits, equipment displays; poultry, sheep, swine, pet and goat judging; the loggers' competition; the miniature, draft and light horse show; the beef and dairy cattle show; the 4-H beef and dairy cattle show; and the Farm Progress Building and all of its exhibitors,
There was also musical entertainment by the Nite Hawk Band, go-kart races, Borderland Racing Association stock car action, a parade, and the 4-H steer auction, not to mention a variety of goodies to eat, ranging from french fries, cotton candy and candy apples to nachos and corn dogs.
While it's true that some district residents have a “been there, done that” attitude toward the fair, keep in mind that each year is also someone else's first Emo fair.
It may not be new to you, but it is to others, especially youngsters who have never ridden the Yo-Yo, Typhoon, or Himalaya or even seen a rooster or goat in real life.
For adolescents and teens, the fair is a chance for them to go to a community event with their friends—without their parents in tow—giving them a taste of independence and freedom.
And for adults, the fair can be a place to socialize with old friends, bring their children to go on rides and play games, or—just as importantly—feel like a kid again themselves.
While the fair is an economic driver and provides tomorrow's farmers with a taste of what it's like to raise animals and auction off steers, it's also a time to acknowledge the hard-working, rural side of Rainy River District.
Fort Frances may have the most people living in its boundaries, and some folks may not travel further west than Alberton on a regular basis, but the fair is an annual reminder to “townies” like me that the west end of the district is a thriving, significant part of our economy and culture that should be honoured, appreciated and celebrated.