BRANT COUNTY – Since 1858, the Paris Fair has been an annual Labour Day weekend tradition for local residents marking the end of summer and a return to school for children. However, this year’s event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Paris Agricultural Society Manager, Cheryl Muir, says organizers still want to provide the community events the fair offers and will do that with virtual competitions.
Muir says there are usually hundreds of classes for both children and adults to enter, but this year the classes are scaled back. There will be online assistance with entries as well.
The Paris Fair alone had an economic impact of approximately $1 million in the community and brought in about $150 thousand in revenue for the Paris Agriculture Society. Muir says while the virtual program will not generate funds, they do have several fundraising events. The Ontario government is also providing nearly $1 million to help fall fairs that have cancelled due to the pandemic.
Last week the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs announced changes to eligibility for a grant program to allow agriculture societies to receive funding without hosting an actual fair, which was previously a prerequisite for the money.
Muir says while things are very different this year, she is hopeful the community will still come together to support the Paris Fair online. All virtual competition classes and rules are on the Paris Fairgrounds website at www.parisfairgrounds.com under virtual fun.