There are many things which might mark the beginning of Spring. There are crocuses freckling the bald patch exposed by the receding snow line. One morning, the robins are back; another morning, the juncos are gone. For us, the beginning of Spring is marked by Agri-Fair.
The ice comes off the arena floor at the end of March and on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of April is replaced by tractors. All the local, and not so local, dealers are represented. Farm equipment vendors, agricultural building contractors, feed suppliers, and farmers’ associations have booths. Not to mention the banks, credit unions, and insurance brokers without whom the whole exercise would be rather academic.
Living close to the arena, we are careful not to wash the backs of our hands too vigorously. Keeping the stamp visible enables us to make multiple visits on one admission fee. There are always people and things which we miss the first time round. My son has to be sure not to offend his friends and future employers, so he makes a few rounds wearing different hats: the Montana hat from Mr Winkels, the B & L hat from Robin. My wife watches reasonably patiently while her two ‘boys’ climb in and out of tractors, UTVs, and ATVs; until, that is, we reach our local electrical appliance dealer’s booth where front loader takes on a whole new meaning. My daughter has given up clambering over farm equipment: it interferes with her texting. No, that’s not quite true. Tractor cabs seem to hold an irresistible draw irrespective of age or gender: especially in this day of A/C, quad-sound, and air-ride seats.
I must confess that the only tractor which we bought at Agri-Fair was made by Ertl. We purchased our lawnmower on our first ever visit, but it isn’t exactly farm scale either. Nonetheless, Agri-Fair provides us with our annual supply of note pads and cheap pens. It is a family day out. It is beef on a bun, with pie on the side. It is a reminder of what keeps our community alive.
Sponsored by the Chesley Kinsmen, Midwestern Ontario Agri-Fair is in its thirtieth year. It runs from noon until 9:00 p.m. on April 2nd and 3rd.