Even with the cancellation of the Ponoka Agricultural Society’s (PAS) annual community fair, the society still has some events planned for later this fall and into next year.
Lauraine Weir, PAS secretary, explained the cancellation was due to COVID-19 restrictions, keeping everyone safe and the fact that the Ponoka Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 66 had temporarily closed.
“The fair has been cancelled, but yes, it will return in 2021,” Weir said of the fair that is usually held in late August.
“However, the Ponoka Ag Society is bigger than just the fair and the members and directors are committed to the society’s vision of ‘Doing great deeds to inspire, support, and create vitality in our urban and rural community.’”
Those deeds included partnering this past spring with Ponoka’s Family and Community Support Services on their “How does your garden grow?” program. Seeds, tomato plants and dirt were provided to more than 130 gardeners, with Weir adding it was a huge success.
“With lots of rain and hot weather, the new and seasoned gardeners enjoyed their fresh produce and flowers. There is nothing like colour in your yard and fresh garden veggies,” she said.
The society also supported the Ponoka Youth Centre’s agriculture week during its summer camp this year, where the kids planted herbs, as well as the 4-H spring public speaking competitions.
Another of the society’s programs supports local post-secondary students with two $500 scholarships, going to those from 17 to 21 and enrolled in a trade, diploma or degree program. In fact, the deadline to get an application in is close — Sept. 1. Head to www.ponokaagsociety.ca for more information and an application form.
The Ponoka Agricultural Society’s partnership in the Calnash Ag Event Centre is also a huge part of their connection to the community.
Weir explained the energy efficiency grant they received from the province was spent on replacing the lights at the Ag Event Centre along with various appliances. The society is also involved in the Centre’s project that will see the expansion of the mezzanine level.
In addition, the society is again partnering with the Black Elk Cutting Horse Association — for the ninth year running — to hold their premier event in Ponoka. The competition is set for Sept. 8 to 13 and attracts people from across North America and is free for spectators.
However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, only 100 spectators will be allowed at any one time.
“This event has a huge positive economic impact on cattle ranchers and local businesses,” Weir said.