It is one of North Sydney’s most beloved and long-lived traditions, and it’s still going strong today. The 94th Cape Breton County Farmers’ Exhibition is now underway at the 105 Regent Street fair grounds.
From August 16 to 21, each day from 11:00am to 12:00pm has a packed schedule. As per tradition, there will be livestock showcases and competitions, produce displays, craft vendors, and a midway fair featuring Hinchey’s rides, booth games, and concessions. The arena will be a major centre of attraction, especially for horse lovers, with the reintroduction of horse events for each day of the exhibition. Show jumping, pole bending, workhorse, and many other types of competition in several different divisions will take place.
The theme of this year’s exhibit is Think Cape Breton First. Taking its cues from the popular Buy Local campaign, the exhibitions organizers made a point a point of prioritizing local entertainers, crafters, and other vendors before seeking off-island exhibitors.
Tuesday’s entertainment includes quilting displays and demonstrations by the St. Matthew Wesley United Church quilting group from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, coinciding with the Freddy and Freda marionette and ventriloquist show at the outdoor stage from 2:00pm to 4:45. A milking demonstration at the cow barn will be held at 6:00pm if the weather co-operates. There will be live music at the indoor stage, with performances from Alicia Penney and the Novemberists.
The contributions of Cape Breton’s 4-H club are particularly important for the exhibition. Starting at 1:00pm on Wednesday, there will be presentations by 4-H clubs from around the island at the resource building on site, followed by a 4-H Fashion Show. The national network of 4-H clubs is a long-running community youth program, known particularly for engaging youth in rural areas. With its beginnings in early 20th century United States, the name represents four personal development themes of “Head, Heart, Hands, and Health”.
On Thursday, the Freddy and Freda show will make another appearance at 2:00pm. There will be 40 different species on display with “Serpentime,” Cape Breton’s travelling reptile show. From 4:00pm to 6:00pm, CBC’s Wendy Bergfeldt will be hosting her Mainstreet show at the outdoor stage in a change of location from her usual studio digs.
One of Friday’s feature events will be the Fortress of Louisbourg’s Fairytale Theatre, performed in period dress at 5:30pm on the outdoor stage. There will be a rug hooking demonstration in the craft area from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, courtesy of Sydney based Down East Rug Hookers.
The Saturday Finale of the Exhibition Events culminates in a concert with Dwayne Cote, one of Cape Breton’s great fiddlers.
General admission to the Cape Breton County Exhibition is $5.00, which grants access to all concerts, horse shows, demonstrations, and most other entertainment. Parking on the fairgrounds costs an extra $2. The admission price is not inclusive for Hinchey’s midway rides. For more information on the exhibition, visit the 2010 Cape Breton County Exhibition Facebook Group or follow the daily flow of events on the exhibition’s Twitter feed @CapeBretonEx.