ABRAM-VILLAGE – Elevated on a bail of hay and with practiced hands Nicole Aten buzzes a razor over and around the head of a cow easily several times her size.
The huge animal is tethered to a stall but doesn’t move around much as its handler shears down its already short coat of hair.
Aten is prepping the cow for showing at L'Exposition Agricole et le Festival Acadien in Abram-Village on Friday.
Having grown up on a farm, prepping a cow for showing is as natural to Aten as breathing at this point.
It’s just something you do, she said.
“I grew up with cows my whole life,” she said, “they don’t scare me too much.”
That being said, you learn not to trust the animals very far.
“I’ve had a few close calls, earlier today I got knocked in the head washing them outside – but you still gotta do the job,” she said with a smile.
Around the corner of the barn from Aten, two and a half-year-old Romy Richardson toddles along a stall and up to one of the cows laying on a thick bed of hay.
Under the watchful eye of her uncle, Richardson sidles up to one of the animals, comically tiny next to its huge bulk, and reaches out to it, giving its rump a gentle pat. She lets out a little squeal of excitement.
Her mother, Jolene Richardson, watches her daughter and brother with an amused grin on her face.
They’re from the Summerside area, but now live in Cornwall. They usually come up to the Acadian Festival, especially with their daughter.
“It brings all the community out to see the different things people are making and growing … it’s just nice to get out and do something with the family,” she said.
It’s a great way to do something with the kids and celebrate your heritage at the same time, she added.
“It’s just a good excuse to have a party and showcase some of the talent and wonderful things we have here on P.E.I.”
The Acadian Festival, which is located in and around the Centre Expo and Musical Village along Route 124, continues through the weekend until Sunday.
This year’s festival is special in a couple of ways, remarked Eric Richard, chairman of the organizing committee.
First of all they’re paying respects to celebrated local musician and writer Angele Arsenault who passed away recently.
A launch party for Arsenault’s final album and a tribute concert are planned for Sunday at 7 p.m.
This is also the first time the festival has used the newly renovated facilities at the Centre Expo.
The new facilities seem to be holding up well, said Richard, and participants have given some positive reviews.
“It’s going to be like a trial run for this year because it’s all new … but so far so good,” he said.
Festival events get underway Saturday with a 7 to 8:30 a.m. breakfast. The expo grounds open at 8 a.m. An adult pass is $8 and students are $3.