Fall Fairs: A lasting impression

It’s the season of fall fairs. These annual events provide an opportunity for farmers to showcase their work, interact with the general public, and evaluate their produce and livestock against other farmers.

Fall fairs are a celebration of  agriculture everywhere The local fall fair brings farmers and consumers together. A recent study indicated that three-quarters of fair attendees think that agricultural education is an important component of fair attendance. For many people, it is their once a year time to get up close and personal with a farm animal or product.

For farmers the opportunity to exhibit their farm product can be a major marketing opportunity. A great example is of this is showing livestock in competitions. Winning championships can be a major boost for farm promotion. More importantly, showing the rest of the farming community your breeding program can lead to sales, and further marketing opportunities. Commercial farmers may see an animal they like and invest in a bull. Embryos sold from show cattle can go to farms across the country and around the globe, or a leading bull can be identified for semen sales.

Local fairs invigorate the community, provide a venue for local food sales, and bring together the best a farm produces. While big shows can spin lots of foreign investment, fairs of any size provide direct economic benefit to local producers / vendors. For example, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, provides farmers from all over Ontario the opportunity to  highlight products from the region they live in. Northern Ontario, for instance, has come together to showcase their locally produced products under one umbrella pavilion at the Royal. This provides a great opportunity for vendors to interact with a large urban population, creating new marketing opportunities.

Fairs bring tourists into communities, they provide an opportunity for the community to experience shows and events brought in for entertainment purposes. Many local music talents get their start on a fall fair stage.

Sometimes the fall fair is the only time of year where people can catch up and visit with each other.

A fair not only educates, grows marketing opportunities and showcases talent, it also pumps dollars into the economy.

A recent study by the Canadian  Association of Fairs and Exhibitions found that the combined economic impact of all the fairs/exhibitions in Canada is over $1B.

  •         The eight largest fairs combined contribute $386M to their local economies
  •         The 12 medium fairs combined contribute $51M to their local economies
  • The 759 small fairs combined contribute $569M to their local economies. That is a n average of $750000 per local fair.

Creating enthusiasm, education and economic opportunities on small or large scale remains a legacy of the fall fairs of Ontario.

The tradition of fall fairs continues across rural Ontario.  Get out and experience the sights sounds and tastes of agriculture once again this year.

For a list of Fall Fairs go to: canadian-fairs.ca

Author: Barry Potter, Agriculture Development Advisor, OMAFRA @livestockpotter

 

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