By Mike Williscraft
They came. They saw. They got wet.
That was pretty much the order of the weekend for West Niagara Fair attendees.
“We did the best we could,” said West Niagara Agricultural Society president Albert Witteveen.
“People were very understanding. We got a lot of positive comments and we heard a lot of ‘We’re looking forward to coming back next year when everything is done’.”
Witteveen was referring to the overall fairgrounds, which has been under construction most of this year at the new Mud Street location, just west of Mountain Road.
“The construction crew has done a great job, as has our committee, just to get where we are. We just got out occupancy permit last week, so we covered a lot of ground,” said Witteveen.
As much as people wanted to see the farm animals and exhibits, take in a demo derby or live performance, virtually all just wanted to see how the new grounds would be set up.
“The only real problem we had was with the agriculture education show. It kind of got washed out due wet ground,” said Witteveen.
“The carnival guys really like the stonedust yard. They told us when they were in Renfrew they had to get tractors to pull the rides out because the ground turned to mud. Our grounds drained well.”
The four-day event started promisingly with more than 2,000 fans attending Thursday night’s demolition derby.
Friday’s main focus was a cattle and mini-horse show.
“Saturday sucked. That said we did have good crowds taking in some of the shows like Mad Science and Guitar Loft’s performance stage,” said Witteveen.
The all-day rain also forced the cancellation of such attractions as the helicopter rides and Saturday night’s fireworks, which got pushed into Sunday.
“Our spirits were really down after Saturday. We put in a lot of work to have that happen. It was unfortunate. But we bounced back Sunday with a very strong day.
Despite threatening skies, the heavy rains of Saturday never did materialize.
“The people did come out. We had better gate receipts Sunday than Thursday, so it was good to close things out on a high note,” said Witteveen.
“A lot of people just wanted to come out and view the facility and we got a lot of great comments. People understood. They know it will be that much better next year with a year of maturity under its belt.”
“It was all a learning experience, for sure, so we’re expecting to build on that for next year.”
This is exactly what organizers of West Niagara Fair woud like to do to Mother Nature…BONK! The inaugural event at the new fairgrounds on Mud Street caught possibly the worst weekend of weather the whole summer. Despite that, thousands of area residents braved the elements to have some fun, like Philip Kuti (the axeman) and his sister Lily.
Williscraft – Photo