By Yvonne Dick
It’s almost time to get ready for the annual Ponoka County Fair.
With the theme of “The Fun Side of Agriculture” and running Aug. 14 and 15 at the Ponoka Stampede Grounds, the County Fair has a wide variety of things to do and see for all ages. There will be rides for the kids, and a mini trade fair showcasing agriculture-related vendors. New for 2010 are the Ranch Rodeo, barrel racing, stock dogs and the wild and woolly sheep demonstration.
The Ranch Rodeo is a four-person competition with branding, cattle doctoring and other common ranch activities. Wild and woolly is a sheep demonstration put on by the Bashaw 4-H Club who will perform a sheep shearing demonstration.
The Ag Society is more than 100 years old, and through the years the events of the fair have evolved while still maintaining some of the traditional county fair activities such as pie and craft judging and garden competitions.
“The landscaping and vegetable garden division is a part of the bench show,” says Ag Society president Sherry Gummow, “The bench show is the portion of the County Fair where you can display ‘the best of’.” For instance, in gardening there could be displayed the best carrot or tomato grown. Gummow says there are also baking, photography, sewing.
“It is patterned after County Fairs of a hundred years ago, when it was a gathering point and they would have the competitions for the best Saskatoon pie or whatever. So it has carried on down through the years as a tradition of the County Fair.”
Using qualified judges through Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, the landscaping and vegetable gardening division judges lawns and gardens within Ponoka County. Conveners take pictures of the entries, which are then placed on display at the bench show, and a winner is announced at the County Fair. Entries for the Urban and Rural Landscaping and Vegetable Garden Competition close July 16.
Contact Janet Hatala at 403-783-2477 or visit the Popnoka Ag Society website at www.ponokaagsociety.ca for more details. Judging will take place before Aug. 7.
“We’ve got people now who really have no connection to agriculture, because most of the time in the past you have an aunt or uncle or grandparent who was involved in agriculture, but we now have a whole generation that has no direct connection to agriculture,” Gummow added in explaining why the County Fair is important.
“Chocolate milk doesn’t come from a brown cow.”