Annual Queens County Fair celebrates rural life of New Brunswick past
This Sunday, dozens of farms across the Maritimes will open their doors to give visitors a peek at their operations during ‘Open Farm Day’’.
But in Gagetown, New Brunswick, an annual celebration of rural life from year’s past is on display at the venerable Queens County Fair.
A team of three year old draft horses rambles through the Queens County Fairground, driven by Matt Creamer, a veteran of the competition and one of the thousands of people who return to Gagetown year after year.
“It’s a great fair, lots of people come and watch this fair. For a lot of us, including myself, this is our last show of the year,” says Creamer.
In another part of the fairground, young ladies show off their riding skills. Most of the competitors have grown up coming to the fair.
“It’s a big deal. People have been coming forever, and I think things like this keep rural cities alive and people know where they actually are,” says rider Elizabeth Estabrooks.
This is the 73rd edition of the Queens County Fair, an event that still attracts young and old.
“If you haven’t got younger people coming along, you’ve got a problem,” says Hazen Underhill, Queens County Fair President.
Underhill has been attending the fair for 60 years and is encouraged by the number of young people who show up.
“We’ve got some good young people who are coming along and are interested and have new ideas. The only problem for us old fellas is we find it hard to accept new ideas, but we’re working at it!” laughs Underhill.
This is the season for rural and county fairs across the Maritimes. They are a reminder of the days when agriculture played a much bigger role in the everyday lives of Maritimers.
Denise Miller works as an announcer at the fair, and has been involved with the annual event since she was four years old.
“You feel personally invested in the fair. It’s like family. You don’t see anything like this, it’s not your typical exhibition. It’s definitely a country fair and they are few and far between,” says Miller.
It’s kind of a reunion, you know like a high school reunion that you go to every year. We call it the Gagetown family,” says Sussex resident Ronnie Davis.
The fair will feature livestock displays and competitions all weekend.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.