© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
A rider certainly has to know how to handle a horse during the barrel racing during the Crapaud Exhibition.
CRAPAUD — Celebrating the community’s farming roots while also branching out into new areas has always been the modus operandi for the Crapaud Exhibition.
This year will be no exception when Prince Edward Island’s agricultural community is showcased during the annual exhibition from Friday to Sunday, July 25 to 27.
Tom Albrecht, director of the Crapaud Exhibition Association, said the exhibition is a whole package that draws in all ages while also impacting the greater community.
“For small towns in rural P.E.I., it’s important they remain viable,” said Albrecht during an interview with the Guardian.
“The exhibition draws people in socially by interacting with old friends and meeting now ones. But there is also an economic impact, when you think about all the people coming in for that weekend, the restaurants, stores and accommodations all benefit.”
The exhibition, which is now in its 61st year, has been a draw for thousands over the years with its mix of agriculture-based entertainment.
Jamie MacPhail, member of the association, said the improvement of the ground’s facilities over the past 10 years has only added to the exhibition’s status.
“It has world-class facilities, as far as I’m concerned, and whether it’s rain or shine, we have activities for every age group,” said MacPhail.
“It’s showcasing the talent that the community in Prince Edward Island has to offer in the agricultural sectors, as well as culturally and through our youth.”
This year will also see the exhibition salute a number of Islanders who have made accomplishments during the past year.
Those include Paralympian Mark Arendz, Atlantic Outstanding Young Farmers for 2014 Heidi and Andrew Lawless, and Kelly Lockhard and Myles Lord for their work with the area’s watersheds.
Albrecht said those awards stay within the general theme of the exhibition.
“The exhibition represents farming and the community,” he said. “They (those being recognized) are part of the greater community so why not honour the people that have received recognition on a provincial level or even the national level.”
Some aspects of the exhibition have remained largely unchanged through the years, such as the woodsman competition and the lawn tractor pulls.
However, each year also sees new aspects added to the exhibition.
New aspects this year include the truck show and shine, which will see more than 15 tractor-trailers from across Atlantic Canada.
As well, the traditional war cake competition will be replaced with mock cherry pie.
A completely new aspect will be a demonstration showing farmers how they can use falcons and other predatory birds to keep away unwanted species such as pigeons.
This year will also see the draft horse pull competition opened up for all Maritimers to compete. The event was previously restricted to only P.E.I. residents.
“It’s definitely a fan favourite, a lot of people come out for it,” said MacPhail.
The exhibition will kick off with preliminaries for a youth talent show on Thursday, before the competition gets underway at the South Shore Actiplex at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Youth competitors, which are split into age groups for junior and senior, will compete in three disciplines: vocal, instrumental and dance.
Anyone looking to sign up for the talent concert can do so by firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 902-658-2626.
“They have to be an Island resident. They have to be at the preliminaries in order to compete on Friday,” said Ferguson. “We now have 17 contestants already but we’re definitely hoping to have more.”
More information on the exhibition and a schedule of events can be found online at www.crapaudexhibition.com.