Blue Heron Fair Days were an unqualified success.
That is how fair coordinator Brenda Visser characterized the 2019 version of the fair.
“You never know how things are going to go going in and how the new attractions are going to go over, or if the weather is going to hold,” she said.
And although Visser said the Agricultural Society is still tabulating the attendance she believes this year’s fair might have set a new three-day record.
“Since I have been involved, Saturday might have been our single biggest day attendance-wise,” she said, adding while Sunday’s attendance wasn’t as good, it wasn’t far behind.
“And it destroyed Sunday’s attendance last year when we had that big rainstorm,” Visser said.
The fair got off to a strong start Friday with the beef show and demolition derby.
Visser noted the demolition derby, despite the colder temperatures and the threat of rain that never materialized, was well attended.
She estimated that about 3,500 people attended the event.
“It was also one of the best-organized derbies we’ve ever had,” she said. “There was not a lot of downtime, they got the cars on and off quickly and it was very competitive.”
The next day, festivities started with the Rotary Club’s pancake breakfast in the Freson Bros. parking lot. After getting off to a slow start, due to the cool and cloudy weather, but attendance increased when the sun came out, just in time for the parade.
“It was a great parade,” she said, noting it went off without a hitch.
Originally Visser was concerned that the parade would be chaotic because the committee hadn’t found anyone to serve as parade marshals but at the last minute someone stepped up.
“The only issue we had is that we ended up with a bit of congestion [on 51 Street] because we almost had too many entries,” she said.
For the most part, the entire weekend went without a hitch, Visser said, noting although the weather threatened to be an issue for the weekend, any precipitation was minor.
The only real hiccup came with the Superdogs performance.
Visser noted they had to change the venue from the main ball diamond to the fenced area next to the dog park.
“They [dog handlers] said the dogs couldn’t perform on the shale,” she said, noting the handlers also objected to the organizers back up site, the curling rink, because of the concrete. “It really forced us to scramble. We needed to find people to pick up and set up chairs and man an extra gate.”
Visser noted changing the venue with such short notice couldn’t have been done without the help of the public works department who moved two portable sets of bleachers to the site.
However, Visser said the effort was worth it as the Superdogs put on an entertaining show in front of an almost capacity crowd.
She said fairgoers also raved about the “Boot Bash” a country music concert featuring Donny Lee and special guest Abbey Powell.
“They just put on a wonderful show,” Visser said, adding she was especially surprised at the amount of energy Lee had. “He had a show in Nashville Friday night so he had to take a 4 a.m. flight to get to Barrhead on time.”
Unfortunately, she said, she as an organizer she didn’t have a lot of opportunities to take in all the activities the fair offered but said the committee received favourable reports from all the vendors who said they were busy throughout the weekend, including the newer features such as the mobile escape room, virtual reality gaming station and monster truck ride.
She also noted the committee has received many compliments on the quality of the rodeo.
While Visser said it is gratifying to hear that people enjoyed the fair, she is quick to point out that it wouldn’t take place without the efforts of the volunteers.
“You can’t count the volunteer manhours that are needed to put on a successful fair,” she said. “We are also always looking to improve people’s fair experience and welcome people with suggestions to make it better and what they would like to see.”
People with ideas can submit their ideas to anyone on the Ag. Society board, via Facebook or their website or better yet, Visser said by joining them at one of their regular monthly meetings on the fourth Thursday of every month at Bablitz Exhibition Hall.