CHESTERVILLE — Carol Johnson has assumed the presidency of the Chesterville & District Agricultural Society, replacing Tina Asselin who has fulfilled her two-year term at the helm of the organization.
Johnson was elected to the position by fellow board members at the Society’s annual general meeting, Jan. 22 at the Nelson LaPrade Centre.
Johnson will be assisted by her niece as 1st Vice President, Ashley Johnson, along with Carol’s father, Gord Johnson, who agreed to return to the board as a director. The board of directors could accommodate up to 21 individuals but currently stands at less than half that — although there were some faces who joined up at the latest meeting.
In closing remarks reflecting on the past year, Asselin highlighted how the 2016 Chesterville Fair nearly broke even — posting a loss of just $661. That’s much further ahead than 2015, when the fair dipped $15,840 into the red. Observing the upward trajectory, Asselin said she expected the event go back into the black in 2017. The 2016 turnaround was helped in part by a surge in donations $29,610 (up from $17,487 in 2015) and the return to paid admission on the Sunday, boosting gate receipts. Concessions and midway receipts took a hit because, as Asselin noted, a couple of the more popular rides spent a good portion of the weekend unfortunately broken down. The weather was beautiful but — as another director pointed out — sizzling hot, which may have hurt attendance to some degree. Ironically, a super hot day can actually hurt a rural fair more than a rained-out day because rainy days are partially compensated back to fair boards through the Ontario government.
Asselin also recounted how her tenure as president began with the tumultuous 2014 fair — which had to scramble for replacement rides when a newly contracted midway operator failed to show up. The fair initiated a court claim against that operator, Asselin reported, but has since learned the firm is no longer in business. Another company has supplied the Chesterville Fair with a midway since the 2014 fiasco.
The 2016 bottom line was also helped by a new barn dance put on by the board last fall, clearing $2,620 for the cause. Meanwhile, 2017 has gotten off to a liquid start with strong sales of tickets on a “glass shamrock” draw, set for March 16.
The board also discussed its participation in the upcoming biennial Dundas County farmers’ gala, and its nomination of the late Marilyn Johnson into the new Dundas County Agricultural Hall of fame. A long-time fixture as Chesterville Fair secretary, the nominee was the mother of the current president, grandmother of the 1st Vice, and wife of director Gord Johnson. The new Hall of Fame will see the first inductions at the March 25 Gala.
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