The Fall Fair as an Entrepreneurial Meetup

I didn’t always appreciate the Fall Fair.  Growing up, it was mostly about eating cotton candy, riding the Tilt-a-Whirl and watching the cars get smashed up in the demolition derby.  All good fun and my spending helped to sustain the Agriculture Society that held the event, but that was lost on me at the time.

As I’ve gotten older my perspectives have changed and I now have an appreciation of what the Fall Fair means to the viability of rural life.  Now, the cotton candy, Tilt-a-Whirl and demolition derby are the sideshow.  The Holstein Show, Heavy Horse Pull and rabbit beauty contest are more of where it’s at for me.

Is that odd that for a boy who grew up in the city, went to university in the city and then lived in the city again?  Why do I feel so comfortable sitting in the stands listening to the judge’s explanation of how one heifer is straighter down her topline than the rest of the field or that her udder is showing more bloom?  Why am I interested?

An easy answer is that I’ve been a rural resident for 15 years and our family has become friends with many farming families – one of which, Crater Farms, has won Canadian and International awards for a Holstein they own.  Also, thanks to a cousin I’ve discovered our own family’s long dairy heritage.

But, as an economic developer I also now appreciate that the Fall Fair is a place where rural life is celebrated, which, regardless of popular perception, doesn’t necessarily mean harkening back to the good ol’ days.

Farmers won’t refer to the Fall Fair as an Entrepreneur Meetup, but that’s exactly what it is.  The exhibits show off human progress as well as positive changes in science and technology.  It’s an opportunity for farmers to exchange ideas on animal husbandry, barn and feeding technology, crop rotation and financial practices.  Doesn’t that sound like a pretty cool place to hang out for a few hours?