Operating under a new brand, in the midst of a pandemic, AgFair organizers weren’t sure what to expect this year.
The Cold Lake Agricultural Society (CLAS) event, formerly known as Fall Fair, had to make some adjustments this year. These included online entries and a closed-to-the-public judging day.
So how did it turn out?
“I’m speechless, to be honest,” said CLAS marketing, events, and business manager Lindsay Toth.
“We more than doubled our Novice registration from last year, which is great for the future of the fair. Overall entries were up 38 per cent. We’re just astounded with the help from the community, every single category was sponsored.
“We’re so happy to see the community coming together and putting together a great local showcase. Everything from scrapbooking to growing plants and showcasing flowers and foods. Photography was the biggest category this year, it was mind-blowing. It might have to be a section of its own next year,” Toth said.
The event culminated in a special farmers’ market on August 29. That event drew 50 exhibitors and more than 900 visitors.
The Cold Lake Visual Arts Society held an exhibition in conjunction with the market. Volunteers from the group also judged the AgFair exhibits, with help from “a seasoned expert from the Bonnyville area,” Toth said.
There was strong synergy between the fair and the farmers’ market.
“A lot of people who are already doing ‘make it – bake it – grow it’ see the fair and they’re like, ‘hey, you know what? Wow, I can really showcase my abilities. And if someone maybe sees a ribbon on there, it’s just more of a testimony to the fantastic products that we’re able to make,’” Toth said.
CLAS hopes there will be fewer restrictions and distancing measures by next year, and the that the air can keep this year’s momentum going.
“If anybody’s interested in volunteering or becoming a market vendor or sponsor for next year, please get a hold of us: firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our Facebook or Instagram page,” Toth said.
There are pictures of winning entries on the CLAS social media pages as well.
AgFair 2020 by the numbers!
• Nearly Doubled Novice Registration over last year
• 38% increase in overall registration from 2019
• Over 225 Exhibits entered – 31 Exhibits Submitted virtually/online
• 126 first-place prizes were given out
• Nearly $900 given out in total prizing!
• 7 volunteers put in over 55 hours of work
• All 15 categories sponsored by 13 local businesses
• 12 artists from Cold Lake Visual Arts Showcased their works in the Art Showcase
• 2 Food trucks were present
• Around 50 vendors were set up during the Thursday and Saturday Farmers’ Market with the Fair.
• Attendance for Saturday’s Fair/Farmers’ Market was 926 people