Summer-like weather all week for 177th Norfolk County Fair
The midway rides and games lit up the sky at the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show on Saturday night. (Kim Novak/Simcoe Reformer)
The 177th Norfolk County Fair will be remembered as the fall fair with the summer-like attitude.
It was consistently warm the entire week of the fair, which wrapped up Thanksgiving Monday.
There was no real need for a sweater or a jacket, even after sunset. If the weather was any problem at all, it was for visitors who over-dressed for the occasion.
“It’s been a stellar week,” fair board president Brian Kenney said Monday.
“The weather has co-operated. There has been rain but it has come during the night. It’s already drying out and we’re looking forward to another good crowd today.”
The summer-like conditions had a mostly positive impact on the proceedings. However, the heat also caused some problems.
Many were puzzled this week when they visited the giant vegetable exhibit beneath the Lloyd S. Culver Memorial Grandstand. For the first time in recent memory, the winning pumpkin was absent for most of the fair.
The winning entry weighed 1,416 pounds and was produced by John Butler of St. Thomas. He dropped the monster pumpkin off Sunday, Oct. 1, but was called to retrieve it on Wednesday. George Araujo, general manager of the fair, said the heat was too much for it.
“We lost the giant pumpkin,” he said. “It over-ripened and began to ooze. And of course that’s a very unpleasant smell so we had to remove it. The farmer wanted the seeds so he came and collected it.”
Hornets were more noticeable at the fair this year than usual thanks to the warm weather. Staff at the St. John’s Ambulance station reported that stings were by far the most common cause for first aid.
“It’s been really warm this year,” said Curtis Madden of St. George, a training officer with St. John’s. “Hornets are normally dormant at this time of year, but not when temperatures are 23, 24, 25 degrees.”
Madden added the vast majority of victims were little kids who haven’t figured out that if you ignore hornets they tend to leave you alone.
On balance, the heat was a blessing. Kenney said there were good crowds well into the night all week because no one was shivering against the cold. All told, it makes for a healthy bottom line and an upbeat annual meeting of the Norfolk Agricultural Society in the new year.
“I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised with our final tallies,” Kenney said.
Const. Ed Sanchuk of the Norfolk OPP reported that police were busy on Young Canada Day thanks to underage drinking. He cited an instance of a youth who was taken to Norfolk General Hospital as a precaution.
“On Young Canada Day we were busy with intoxicated kids,” Sanchuk said. “We had one 14-year-old kid whose friends left him intoxicated on the ground to the point of alcohol poisoning.”
And thanks to the big crowds, there were more instances this year of distraught children searching for their equally-distraught parents.
Sanchuk said parents and their children should arrive at a plan for the fair in the event they lose touch with one another.
“People need to have a plan in place – a place where they can meet if they get separated,” Sanchuk said. “Not only are mom and dad upset, but the child is upset as well. You need to keep your eyes on your children so they don’t get lost.”