The town of Vermilion will be holding its 109th Annual Vermilion Fair this month, which will kick off with a parade and feature livestock shows, live entertainment, tractor pulls, chuckwagon races and thousands of exhibits.
Nicole Templeton, office manager of the Vermilion Agricultural Society, which presents the annual event, says it’s one of the largest agricultural fairs in Western Canada and sees between 23,000 to 25,000 people pass through the gates each year.
“I think that it’s really great that we have such a traditional agricultural fair in a community like Vermilion,” she said. “The amount of people that come in for it, I think it says a lot for all of the volunteers that put on the fair because we are all basically volunteer driven.”
Some of the livestock show categories include heavy horse, light horse, beef, sheep and goat shows and this year the chicken category will be replaced with a poultry show that will be in conjunction with Canadian Heritage Breeds. The revamped poultry show will also be judged by someone from the American Poultry Association instead of the guest judges from previous years and the bird count this year will be increased from the 40 birds seen last year to 150 this summer.
Other spectacles people can look forward to are the pony chuckwagons and chariot races, trade and bench shows and nightly grandstand performances that begin each night at 8:30 p.m. Brenda Lee Cottrell will be taking the stage Thursday evening, on Friday people can enjoy a performance by Shannon Smith and on Saturday audiences can catch a set by Danny Hooper.
According to the Vermilion Agricultural Society’s website, each year they choose a different theme for the fair and this year will be “Local Roots and Cowboy Boots.” The annual fair, this year being held from July 23 to 25, takes over 200 volunteers and a full year to make things happen with little to no fundraising and Templeton says organizers put in a lot of work to keep things fresh.
“We prepare year round for it. All of the committees do their thing all year long and they have meetings and make improvements and look for new things for the people,” she said. “Because things change, right? Nothing stays the same and people’s interests change, so they just try to keep up with that and improve on things every year. Make things run more smoothly.”