TYENDINAGA – The 113th Annual Tyendinaga Agricultural Fair took place this past weekend. Although heavy rains on Saturday brought early closures and reduced numbers, the Kanhiote Fundraising Bingo, a pancake breakfast, the Car Show and Shine, the poultry judging, a turkey dinner, and the Mohawk singers weathered the rain without a hitch.
On Friday night a cool breeze balanced out a slightly humid evening at the fairgrounds in Tyendinaga. The scrumptious smell of fry bread, thunderous sound of demolition cars revving, and lights so bright you forgot what time it was, are all synonymous with the Annual Tyendinaga Agricultural Fair. The sound of laughter and people chattering away was heard as a constant hum of the crowd and the voice of “Elsie” – the 35 year veteran emcee for the very popular demolition derby – was heard through the sound system.
The fair is so popular among the small Tyendinaga community that the Quinte Mohawk Elementary (QMS) School and Tyendinaga Band Council closes their doors on the opening day of the fair. QMS spends the day hanging up hundreds of pieces of student’s art for the art exhibit in the “school building”.
There were submissions of artwork and baking goods from the youth that were judged by community members early Friday morning. Pat was very pleased with the number of submissions not only from Tyendinaga but also surrounding towns like Kingston and Shannonville. “We want to show that we want to work with the outside communities,” she said about why the exhibits were opened to the public.
Unfortunately, the rain continued and forced a shut down of the fair at 5:00 pm on Saturday. Sunday was sunny and a cool 12 degree Celsius, perfect fair weather. The kids headed to the rides to make up for yesterday’s early closure. Maggie Deinum, owner of Crown Amusements, did the best she could to accommodate those who had been denied a full day of rides just the day before.
The Kid’s Big Bale Roll and the Strongman/woman event were two activities that were held over from Saturday. The Petting Zoo, Bingo, and the Napanee Old Time Fiddlers entertained the rest of the fair goers throughout the rest of the day.
Nikki Auten member of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory and long time fair goer had this to say about why she has always attended the fair for as long as she can remember, “The biggest reason for me to come to the fair is so I can see all of the people in my community in one place. It’s a great positive atmosphere to have some social time with your friends and it brings the community together in a good way…the derby being my favourite part.”
By Erica Jamieson