Harrow FairSylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The 169th annual Harrow Fair wrapped-up a summer full of festival fun across the region, with a focus on creating family traditions, recognizing the skills of crafters, needlepoint artists, and bakers, and educating the public about agriculture and animal care.

This year’s theme was “Sew it, Grow it, Show it.”

Every Labour Day weekend, the Harrow Fair Board welcomes community members to enjoy a four-day festival, hosted at the southern-end of the municipality, which always garners great interest from the community, and beyond.

Its unique focus on farm animal care and agriculture is something members of the Harrow Fair Board enjoy annually providing the community, as many may not otherwise get a chance to meet cows, pigs, goats, sheep, and a variety of poultry species that are brought to the fair site, which is adjacent to the Harrow Arena.  

With many members of the Essex County 4-H Clubs onsite with their animals on display, these youths were happy to engage with the fair attendees and relay all they have learned in raising farm animals over the past several months – or even years.

At the Harrow Fair – in addition to the Comber Fair which took place a few weeks prior – 4-H members participate in their achievement days for their animal-specific clubs. They also hosted the annual auction for some of the animal species.

Emma Denotter, a Director on the Harrow Fair Board, was pleased with this year’s turnout. Though she was unable to say how many had gone through the gates officially, she was sure – just by looking around the fairgrounds over the festival weekend – that this year’s event was sure to have drawn in great numbers, maybe even record-breaking.

“There was great attendance,” she said. “There was a lot of community support.”

She is looking forward to connecting with other Fair Board members to determine how many passed through the fair gates over the four-day festival.

Every year, the Harrow Fair Board tries to embody the spirit of being a family and friendly event, “so everyone comes back to start traditions and make memories,” Denotter said.  

In addition to offering opportunities to learn about farm animals and agriculture, and a large midway of rides, games, and an at-capacity vendor area, Denotter noted she was proud the Harrow Fair was able to bring in Jesse T, Genevieve Fisher, and Michelle Wright for the main stage entertainment.

It also offered a horse show, lawnmower races, a tractor pull, and the always anticipated parade that proceeds through Harrow.

Sunday’s non-denominational church service collected two non-perishable items for local food banks.

Visitors had the chance to look at the over 6000 entries submitted into the many fair competitions by around 1300 exhibitors, which judged a variety of items from fruits, vegetables, flowers, and seeds to quilts, needle arts, and baked goods.

Every year, the Harrow Fair offers a pie auction that raffles off top winning pies in the culinary arts competition. Every year, the pie auction benefits the John McGivney Children’s Centre. Thanks to community support, this year’s fundraiser brought in a whopping – and record-breaking – $82,000.

The Fair’s Grand Champion Pie – a key lime pie – earned the most at the pie auction, with Harrow’s Hometown Family Pharmacy making the winning $15,000 bid.

As a fundraiser for the Harrow Fair, a quilt raffle was held. Members of the Home Crafters Board, a subcommittee, created the quilt.

In addition, this year, they sold a quilting kit that offered five materials that were donated to the initiative, and challenged crafters to create a 12×12 inch block using only those materials. Members of the Home Crafters Club will then use those blocks to create another quilt that will be raffled off next year.

Prizes will be awarded for the top blocks submitted. 

By Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Sep 08, 2023 at 10:37

This item reprinted with permission from   Essex Free Press   Essex, Ontario

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