Chesterville Agricultural Society breaks ground on new show ring

Contributors to the $8,700-plus tally that will build a new show ring at the Chesterville Fairgrounds (from left) Corey Boucher, Ken Boje of Winchester BMR, Chesterville Carnival Committee members Monique Monast-St Denis and Shelley McLeod, Chesterville Lions Jordan Hodge, Tom and Nancy McMahon, Debra Kelly and Anne McLean, and Chesterville Rotarian Martin Derks. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

CHESTERVILLE — The imminent arrival of a new equestrian and livestock show ring at the Chesterville fairgrounds was celebrated as the local agricultural society recognized the charitable organizations that helped make the improvement a reality late last week.

The 100- by 200-foot fenced-in ring will be located on the north side of the Exhibition Hall. It replaces a smaller corral that stood further to the north, east of the cattle barn, until it fell into disrepair a few years ago. The fairgrounds have been without a proper, fenced sand-filled show ring ever since the older, smaller one was dismantled.

The project’s go-ahead follows the Fair Board’s push of more than a year to raise the required dollars, which ultimately came from a combination of Winchester BMR, the Chesterville Rotary and Lions clubs, the Chesterville Winter Carnival Committee,

Ag Society member Peter Vanderlind recounted pitching the $8,700-plus initiative at both the 2018 and 2019 of 100 Women Who Care events as well as last year’s 100 Men Who Care. “We were unsuccessful with those groups, but outside of those groups, we were getting growing support,” said Vanderlind at a ceremonial groundbreaking last Friday. “The Rotary Club was one of the first that came onboard; the Lions Club as well was greatly generous with their donation,” he said. “And then Ken [Boje] at BMR is helping us out as well, and the Chesterville Winter Carnival Committee stepped up with a nice cheque as well, and Corey and Lisa Boucher put in the last little bit we needed to complete this project.”

Gord Elliott will handle the bulldozer work as a donation as well, he added, “and he’s going to be supplying the sand for us as well.” An anonymous donor also contributed, a “direct result” of the pitch made at last September’s 100 Men Who Care event.

Actual construction is expected to begin later this month.

In the works “for a number of years,”  the show ring’s new location comes with space for bleachers on either side “and room for parking trucks and trailers for the animals as well,” Ag Society Carol Johnson said, highlighting the practical improvements.

Johnson also acknowledged the return of a show ring to Chesterville is in keeping with the board’s aim to revive a tradition of agricultural livestock and equestrian events at the Fair. “Yes, we are trying to get back to our agricultural roots,” she said. “We want to bring agriculture back to the community and back to the fair, and by doing this, we’re hoping that this area … will be a year-round site of activity for the agricultural community.”

Johnson added, “Not just in the form of horse and equestrian events, but for 4-H, for open shows. For any animals that want to get some practise in showing, we’re hoping they’ll come and use the grounds all summer, and we’re really excited about that.”

She also noted the Fair’s enduring importance to Chesterville as a place for people to physically gather and celebrate things like agriculture — something lost “in this age of digital technology and social media.”



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