Fall brings harvest, reflection and fairs

By MPP Bobbi Ann Brady

Summer is now officially over, and fall is upon us. After spending the past few summers under pandemic rules and regulations, it was wonderful to get back to normal this year. Trying to cram in everything we had been missing made the season fly by.

As the leaves change colour and fall, the new season allows us to give thanks for the bounty our fields, farmers, and farm workers have produced. It’s also a time for reflection as memories abound.

Here in Haldimand-Norfolk, fall evokes memories of our local fairs and festivities. We are blessed to have so many events across Haldimand-Norfolk, and they don’t seem to slow down as the weather gets cooler. Although Port Rowan’s Bayfest and Hagersville’s Summer End occur during the summer, these events essentially kick off the fall festival season in both Haldimand and Norfolk.

Last weekend was the Donnybrook Fair in Walsh. Local youngsters participated in the Saturday morning parade and then headed to the fair to check out the goats, baby pigs, ponies, and a great car show. Saturday night is always the favourite of the two-day event as the demolition derby heats up. Sunday is always a hoot as local school teams fight it out in the tug-of-war.

After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the Langton Fair was back – a small fair with a big heart. I was fortunate to hitch a ride in the parade with Gerard Demaiter in his old Mercury pickup truck, where he recounted his days as a tobacco farmer. At 91 years young, Gerard gave me some institutional knowledge that is hard to find these days.

Tobacco hand-tying, the nail driving contest, the baby contest, and home craft entries by the local school kids are always highlights of the fair. In its 132nd year, the fair promotes and proudly displays the area’s rich agricultural history and diversity.

Over the weekend, I took in Norfolk’s Studio Tour – if you’ve never been on the tour, it’s a must-see! Although I didn’t catch any of the South Coast Jazz Festival last weekend, I heard it was incredible.

This week I am off to the Caledonia Fair, hosted by the Caledonia Agricultural Society. It runs from September 29th to October 2nd and is celebrating 150 years. The fair boasts something for every family member with a midway and rides, demolition derby, a SuperDogs show, and much more.

The Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show is next on my agenda and runs an entire seven days beginning October 4th. I am honoured to be opening this year’s 182nd fair! It has been one of the province’s oldest and largest continuous fairs since 1840.

My favourite part of the Norfolk County Fair is Young Canada Day, the animals, the many agricultural displays, and the array of entertainment held on the main stage and around the fairgrounds throughout the week. Of course, I grab my share of pogo sticks and funnel cakes!

This fall season will be capped off by the 40th annual Waterford Pumpkinfest – running October 14-16th. Pumpkinfest is chock full of fun with the traditional parade, a midway, soapbox derby, craft beer garden, car show, marketplace, and of course, numerous displays of pumpkins!

There is so much to do across our beautiful riding, I hope you can join in too. Thank you to all the volunteers who make it happen!

Bobbi Ann Brady is the MPP for Haldimand-Norfolk