Lansdowne, Athens launch fair season

The demolition derby provided lots of smash-em-up fun at the 154th Lansdowne Fair, which ran from July 20-22, 2018. (FILE PHOTO)

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A duo of long-held summer festivals kicks off this week with some new features to get fair season in full swing in Leeds and Grenville.

The 155th Lansdowne Fair and the 40th Farmersville Exhibition in Athens open up Thursday and Friday, respectively, and run through the weekend.

For the first time in over a decade, the Lansdowne Fair will be hosting its opening ceremonies Thursday evening, making room for even more entertainment throughout the four-day event.

“The public has been asking us to have some live entertainment in front of the grandstand,” said Wayne Shields, the second vice-president of the fair, who has been involved with the fair for 49 years. “To accommodate that, we have switched our program around and we’ve added in Thursday evening.”

Starting at 6:30 p.m. with the mini king and queen contest, the opening ceremonies will follow at 7:15 p.m. Musical entertainment for Thursday evening will be The Stares, a local band taking the stage at 8 p.m.

Popular attractions at the fair include the horse draw Friday at 7:30 p.m., the parade that starts at the Community Building at noon Saturday, the demolition derby Saturday at 7 p.m., and the various home craft competitions.

The theme for this year’s fair is Starry Nights & Midway Lights, something Shields hopes is a good omen.

“Starry nights of course are what we hope we get with clear and good weather,” said Shields. The midway lights references the Midway rides for kids, one of the many activities for young people at the fair.

Face painting, entertainment in the kids’ tent Saturday morning and afternoon, a Kids’ Power Wheels Heat Saturday evening and Children’s Pig Scramble Sunday morning are some of the many options.

Daily admission passes for ages 13 and over cost $5 Thursday, $8 Friday and $10 Saturday and Sunday; children 12 and under get free admission.

Presented by the Lions Club of Athens, Farmersville, affectionately known at Steamfair, will be taking over Centennial Park and Centre ‘76 for three days starting Friday evening.

Each year, the exhibition features a specific make of tractors; this year will be any Massey product –Ferguson or Harris – but all other makes are welcomed and will be seen along the exhibition grounds.

Other big displays will be from the Upper Canada chapter of the Antique Truck Club of America and the G. Tackaberry & Sons Construction collection.

New this year to the exhibition is a truck pull, starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

Peter Vanderlinden, one of the exhibition co-chairmen, said the addition of the truck pull comes from the need to change up the agenda and the addition of new members on the committee.

Other competitions taking place are the vintage tractor pull starting noon Saturday and the horse draw beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday.

Another new feature for the exhibition this year is a helicopter ride being offered Saturday at the rink parking lot.

Various musical performances will be taking place throughout the weekend: Friday will feature (R&B) Ralph and Brenda from 6:30-9 p.m. and Saturday from 12-4 p.m. and Craig Curtis will take the stage Sunday from 12-4 p.m.

Mainstays like the craft fair inside the rink from 9-6 Saturday and 10-4:30 Sunday and the Shriners’ breakfast from 7-10:30 both Saturday and Sunday mornings will be offered at the exhibition.

General admission for 13 and over is $5 Friday and $10 Saturday and Sunday or $15 for the weekend; children 12 and under are admitted free.