This year marked the biggest Agricultural Fair that Russell Township has ever seen, with everything from carnival rides and games to pony rides to tractor pulls. The Fair ran from August 12 to August 14 this year, and the entire Russell Fairgrounds was utilized for the festivities, including the indoor facilities.
“We went bigger this year just cause, y’know, we’re back. We decided we’d go big or go home, and it paid off,” said Mhairi Rowland, president of the Russell Agricultural Society. “We had 2500 people at Dean Brody Friday night.”
Despite the increased turnout, Rowland said that everything went pretty smoothly. There were no major problems or interruptions, something she attributes in part to online ticket sales.
“People are used to buying online, so I think it helped at the gates with the congestion,” she said. “I think it definitely helped with the cash. Usually we have a lot of cash on hand to make change for people, but that wasn’t necessary this year.”
In addition to going bigger, the Fair happened earlier this year than normal. Usually it occurs in September, but by holding the Fair in August, the Agricultural Society was able to book a bigger Midway.
“This is the first time we’ve had a three-day, charging Fair. In the past, the Friday’s just been education day with nothing else happening, but that’s changed this year,” she said. “It’s been good. Instead of spreading out the crowd, it seems to have brought in more people.”
If there’s one thing they could change, Rowland says it’s the number of volunteers they have.
“Probably our biggest challenge has been getting volunteers,” she said. “It’s summer, so lots of people are busy with their own stuff.”