CHESTERVILLE — The midway returned to the Chesterville fairgrounds this week, ready to whirl and spin in its official start later this afternoon, precursor to the motorized spectacle and rock-and-roll blast on opening night.
Gates to the 85th annual fair open 1 p.m. today (Aug. 26), with the Gable Bros. rides and games reserved 2-3 p.m. for people with disabilities, then onward through the rest of the evening for the general public.
A new ride this year is the Bullet (also known as the Hammer), says fair board president Tina Asselin, pointing to the red structure that will whip pairs of opposing cockpits upward around a centre axis, as she walks the grounds during harried last-minute preparations Thursday night. Among other rides on site, the nearby Ferris wheel and merry go round look to be a little easier on the innards.
Beyond the lights and cotton candy of the midway, tonight’s featured entertainment will turn up the smoke and decibel levels, starting with the 7 p.m. truck pull in front of the grandstands. Two hours later, AC/DC tribute band Great Scott will fire up their own brimstone blast from the refreshment tent stage ($10 admission to that age-of-majority show).
The Riq Turner Band takes the stage during the next evening’s featured show, during Saturday’s night’s (Aug. 27) highlight fair tradition: the demolition derby. A different firm is organizing this year’s derby — Edge Motorsports — and once again, local firefighters have prepared a car as part of a fundraiser raffle, with the lucky winner getting behind the wheel for that night’s motorized mayhem.
The firefighters’ dunk tank will serve as another special attraction on Saturday. Fairgoers will have a shot at dumping North Dundas Township councillors Tony Fraser, John Thompson and Al Armstrong into the drink.
Sunday’s traditional spectacles include the Baby Show in the Kidz Zone tent (10:30 a.m. registration), and the Junior Farmers’ Tug of War atop a mud pit (11 a.m.) Another Sunday highlight is the community worship service in the refreshment tent (10 a.m.).
In a bit of a change, the fair’s trade show displays are moving into the arena this year, according to the president. The fair has rights to the arena under a long-standing deal from when the board donated the land for its construction in the early 1970s.
Of course, the 2016 fair will see the return of the agriculture, animal husbandry and homecraft themes that are always staple of the weekend. Heavy horse and mini-horse demonstrations run 11 a.m. Saturday in front of the grandstands, while gymkhana kicks up the sand the same hour. The goat show and youth beef show run most of the day, Sunday, in the cattle barn.
Chesterville also benefits as the village with a long-time Therien Jiu-Jitsu & Kickboxing gym: The local operators will again put on martial arts demonstrations 2 p.m. Saturday in the refreshment tent.
Dr. Kaboom will preside much of the weekend at the Kidz Zone tent.
The fair runs Aug. 26-28.
See the fair schedule at http://www.chestervillefair.com/schedule–event-info.html